All across the Tampa Bay region, law enforcement officers were out en masse on Halloween, but not to add to the typically portended scare and shenanigans. No, the objective of law enforcement on such a holiday is to ensure safety among all those celebrating the festive event founded in ghoulish recognition. It is, however, the paramount purpose of law enforcement officials to maintain the safety and security of the many children walking out-and-about upon our streets.
Freak accidents can occur as many costumes simply blind peripheral vision. Also, the utter excitement of children, although joyous it may be, causes judgments to be unheeded by youngsters. A child's myopic focus on the next candy stop can easily result in tragedy, such as unwittingly scampering across the streets in front of moving vehicles.
Parents chaperoning their children are a safety feature, yet accidents still can occur.
Thus it is crucial for police officers in marked police cruisers and/or walking a beat be quite visible. Being seen is tantamount to the mental checks and balances adults must exercise. The sight of a police officer serves numerous purposes, this being only one of myriad pertinent reasons.
Albeit largely a safety and security issue, our law enforcement officers donning their police or deputy sheriff uniforms may have noticed quite an increase in would-be back-up. Not exactly reminiscent of fresh-out-of-the-academy statuesque cops did the real cops notice smaller, uniformed, animatedly awkward cops: Children costumed as law enforcement officers.
One such law officer, Deputy Tom Potito of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office (PCSO), partnered with a young trick-or-treat participant who he happened upon on one of the streets along his beat.
Deputy Potito met and befriended a young boy, "Vincent", attired in a police officer costume and took it upon himself to bond with the young lad.
Deputy Potito met his smaller sidekick, grabbed hold of his hand, and extended the invitation to tour his nearby PCSO patrol cruiser.
No tricks...only a huge treat for Vincent!
If that does not serve as a treat for a young boy --who clearly has admiration and respect for law enforcement-- perhaps the highlight of his Halloween 2013 experience will return as vivid memory some day. Maybe, just maybe, young Vincent will have crisp recollection when, after graduating a police academy, he is serving as a much larger cop, out-and-about on the streets during a Halloween. In such an event, paying it forward is already in the cards.
Many can agree, this is simply one of the most vital tasks a law enforcement officer can perform: To reach out to the community members and extend a hand of friendship, support, and unity.
In this vane, citizens are reminded of our police officers not only serving as bulwarks of the U.S. Constitution, but also as public figures who are quite altruistic under all the layers of uniform and warrior-like equipment.
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