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Open house draws crowds to Pleasanton police event

Family-focused festivity gives public close look at city's law enforcement

Nearly 2,000 turned out Saturday for the Pleasanton Police Department's open house, a fun family event that offered residents a comprehensive overview of the city's services, programs and activities.

Crowds lined areas in parking lots in front of City Hall and behind the police department as well as inside police headquarters to take tours, watch demonstrations by police and firefighters, learn about public safety, water quality and how to be prepared for emergencies.

Police Chief Dave Spiller stood at the entry gate all day, shaking as many hands as he could.

Children especially enjoyed demonstrations by the motor and canine units with many having a chance to sit on a police motorcycle with lights flashing and sirens blaring. The city's animal control officers were on hand to greet visitors and answer questions about animal control issues such as barking, leash laws and pet licensing.

"During their tours of the police station, itself, we even gave kids a chance to walk into one of our holding cells," Spiller said. "But we didn't throw away the keys as some feared. We even let them sit in my chair in the chief's office and put their feet on my desk, which, of course, I never do."

Spiller said the department had been planning the event for about a year.

"It's a big undertaking and we made sure to don everything right," he said. "All hands were on deck except for our regular patrols on city streets."

Even when the event ended at 4 p.m., there was more to do. In addition to returning all the vehicles and equipment to their usual places, some in the department, including Spiller, headed over to Hayward for a similar countrywide event hosted by the local chapter of the NAACP.

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