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Photo of Young Trick-or-Treater with Officers Is a Winner

Friday, Oct. 9, 2020
This image of four officers at the Hillsborough Police Department’s Trunk-or-Treat event last year is a 2020 winner of a U.S. Department of Justice photo contest to show community policing in action.

The Hillsborough Police Department’s community policing efforts are gaining some national attention this month thanks to being named a winner in a U.S. Department of Justice photo contest.

A photo from the Police Department’s Trunk-or-Treat event last year is the October 2020 winner of the Community Policing in Action Photo Contest, sponsored for six years now by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services in the U.S. Department of Justice.

The photo features a then 3-year-old trick-or-treater, Julian King, in law enforcement garb with sergeants Will Felts and Buddy Parker and former Hillsborough Officer Tremel Brown.

“Julian is a special kid,” Parker said. “He walked right up in the middle of us and started talking. He had us laughing, and I hope to see him as an officer once he is old enough. The interaction we enjoyed with him reminds us daily of why we became police officers.”

The boy’s mother, Danisa Baker, took the photo, which is featured with the department’s community policing efforts in the October issue of The Community Policing Dispatch, an e-newsletter of the COPS Office. You can also find the photo as this month’s header for the U.S. office’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“Julian loves police officers and takes any opportunity he can to say hello, even if it means mommy flagging one down to wave or show off the lights,” stated Baker, whose family visits friends often in Hillsborough. “I really appreciate that we have local officers who take the time to make these small gestures. Taking a few minutes to do things like that are what builds real community.”

Community policing

Selected photos show positive community engagement that promotes community policing and trust building.

“Community policing in Hillsborough is a department-wide philosophy,” Parker said. “Our officers enjoy engaging with our community members from infant to our most senior. It really brings a smile to my heart to know that we are strengthening the foundation on which every person in Hillsborough benefits.”

In Hillsborough, the community policing efforts are led by all officers with coordination from the department’s administration. Officers initiate events, such as the Trunk-or-Treat event and an annual straw bale collection to keep outdoor dogs warm during winter. They also perform house checks and school patrols, and they attended 120 community meetings and events last year.

“Our interactions with Hillsborough police have always been cheerful and helpful,” Baker said. “I got lost once and was able to flag down an officer who let me trail him to where I needed to go because my GPS was not giving me the correct directions. He showed great concern for making sure I was safe.”

The Police Department started its Trunk-or-Treat event in 2017 as a way to increase positive interactions between officers and youths while also providing a safe alternative to walking on dark streets. The event, typically offered at Fairview Park, is open to children of all ages and pets and includes games and treats.

More information

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department will not offer a Halloween event this year. See the news release Health Officials Discourage Trick-or-Treating and Trunk-or-Treating for local guidance for this Halloween, including safer ways to still have Halloween fun. Julian, now 4, plans to be an astronaut this year.

Interested in seeing other winning photos? See the COPS Office’s 2020 Community Policing in Action Photo Contest Winners page. A photo from the Raleigh Police Department was also selected as one of the 12 winners for this year.