Over 250 pounds of candy – packed in dozens of bags – was available for the taking on Saturday, as the Oakdale Police Department staged “Operation Halloween 2.0” in the parking lot of the police station.
With a report of tampering with candy on Halloween night and the subsequent concern from parents about finding metal or other foreign objects in their children’s candy, the police department offered free treats to all kids in the community on Nov. 3.
“We threw our candy away,” admitted mom Kat Mitchell, attending with her sons Karter, 3, and Nolan, 18 months. Both boys came in costume and had the chance to meet McGruff the Crime Dog, get an up close look at the various police vehicles and go home with a lunch bag filled with multiple candy items.
“We came more to see the police officers for the kids,” she added, but said getting the safe Halloween candy was also a treat. “I thought it was super sweet.”
Public Information Officer Janeen Yates with the Oakdale Police Department said the goal was to make sure kids in the community had safe Halloween candy they could eat with no worries.
“We didn’t want the children being penalized,” she said of the tampering incident that prompted some to toss their candy. “Halloween should be about having a good time trick-or-treating. We wanted to give back to the children in the community; we wanted to make it up to them.”
A total of 260 pounds of candy was brought in for the event, she said.
“It’s not just to have candy,” Yates added. “It’s to tour the police vehicles, interact with the officers.”
Some of the action was captured from above by the department’s UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, better known as a drone, and a steady stream of visitors made their way to the police station during the event on Saturday morning.
Terry Johnston said they had gone to the Burchell Hill neighborhood where the tampered candy was believed to have been collected and were happy to come to Saturday’s 2.0 event.
“I think it’s so cool that the police department would put this on for our kids,” she said, bringing three-year-old Leelynnd in costume to meet the officers.
Mom Marissa Cahn brought daughters Samantha, 5, and Charlotte, 3, to the event as well.
“We heard about it through the Oakdale Police Department website; it’s really sad that someone would try to ruin Halloween,” she said, adding that it brought some peace of mind to know the police were providing replacement candy for anyone concerned about the items they collected on Halloween night.