Alhambra residents lined up on First Street Wednesday to get a look at Alhambra Police Department’s facilities and equipment during National Night Out, an outreach event hosted by police officers around the country. Alhambra police manned informational booths on crime prevention, took residents on tours of the police station, and allowed children to pose with police cars, segways, and motorcycles.
The annual open house is a way to break through the intimidating presence of officers, according to Alhambra Police Chief Mark Yokoyama. “The public sees the negative context that we have with the public arrests, citations, tickets,” Yokoyama said. “We want to break that down and let people see us as human beings.”
Throughout the evening, residents snacked on free hotdogs, popcorn, and shave ice as they watched officers demonstrate a felony vehicle stop and crowd control techniques. The K-9 police dogs also showed off their training by subduing an attacker. Inside the station, volunteers gave residents a tour of the offices and classrooms.
Maria Medina, who came to National Night Out with her daughter, said she feels safe every time the police are present. “I don’t have any problems talking with police,” Medina said. “I’m not afraid of them. They’re just here to help.”
According to Alhambra City Councilman Gary Yamauchi, the event was also meant to encourage residents to report suspicious activities and take an active part in crime prevention. “We’ve been publicizing this continuously to let residents know they have to help the police department in lowering the crime rate,” Yamauchi said. “The police department cannot do it themselves. They don’t have enough staff, they don’t have enough eyes to see everything. So we need the public to join in. If there’s anything suspicious around the house, call it in.”