It turns out the coronavirus did not scare the candy bejesus out of South-Central officers accustomed to conducting their annual Trunk or Treat program from the station’s parking lot at 2202 St. Emanuel in the eastern shadows of downtown.
“COVID keep the community from coming to us,” South Central’s community services Officer Tracie Mathews-Segura explained, “so we took our trunks full of candy out to the community.”
It was billed all throughout the South-Central patrol area as Rollin Trunk or Treat. And what a Halloween celebration it was!
T’was the day before Halloween, a Friday, when all through the neighborhood South Central officers were decked out as Disney princesses, an HPD K9, a clown, Superman – really all kinds of other “scary” costumes to interface with kids and their families throughout the nearby Third Ward neighborhoods.
A special added attraction was Grimace, the evil purple McDonald’s character who wheeled through in his own custom purple vehicle.
Altogether there were about 15 vehicles which included patrol cars, the SWAT Bearkat, golf carts and appropriately decked-out personal vehicles. The officers, led by the scarecrow (Mathews-Segura) playfully tossed bags of candy to the kids in Riverside Park, Shape Center, Nubia Square Apartments, Yates High School and Cuney Homes.
There was plenty of evidence that the rollin’ coasters were well publicized through social media, flyers and the ever-reliable word-of-mouth. South Central secured loads of wrapped Halloween candy through community leaders and other sponsors who donated what was needed.
Mathews-Segura and others carefully bagged 2,500 “candy-loads” and had no trouble whatsoever tossing it to the right sets of hands. There were some leftovers – but not for long. Commander Carletta Johnson scooped them up and delivered them to the kids several other Third Ward apartments complexes the next day – which was the actual Halloween calendar day.
“We didn’t want there to be a moving convoy with kids moving around the neighborhoods,” Mathews-Segura said, “so we did the rollin’ trunk or treat on the day before.”
No one was left out of the Friday activity. The candy-bearing rollers were led by two HPD solo motorcycle officers and were flanked by bicycle officers who helped to direct traffic on the side streets.
The actual roll-out began about 4:30 p.m. and wound up about 7 p.m. at the last stop on the route.
Trunk or Treat events have been common in HPD service areas for about the last five years. This year they were planned at the following stations: Northeast, North Patrol, Eastside, Southeast and
The South Central adaptation due to the virus pandemic was an all-time first, once again proving necessity is the mother of invention, especially when candy and a strong commitment to serving
the surrounding communities is involved, as it always is in the Houston Police Department.
Before she could tell the judges that she was one of the sponsoring officers, Mathews-Segura was awarded first prize for her scarecrow costume alongside her “skeleton” of a son, Brooks. (These two are related to Sgt. Jose Segura as wife and son).
The scarecrow shied away from the limelight when she explained that there were many other more noteworthy outfits, including Commander Kristine Anthony-Miller who was dressed in an HPD K9 outfit.
“All in all, we had a great time,” she said. “It was a great way to interface with the members of the community and let them know that Houston police officers care about them.”