This year has been a tough one for the El Monte Police Department.
In June, two officers were fatally shot in the line of duty, and this week, Chief Ben Lowry succumbed to health issues.
But it’s through tough times that communities come together, and on Thursday night, downtown El Monte was full of trunk-or-treaters who came out for the police department-sponsored event.
“As you can see, kids are having fun all over the place, and I think that was our number one goal, to make sure that these kids had fun,” said Detective Carlos Molina.
The event brought to fruition a vision for Sgt. Michael Paredes that was established many years ago.
Sadly, Paredes and Officer Joseph Santana were killed in that June shootout.
“This was started by Sgt. Michael Paredes, so we wanted to keep the tradition going,” Molina said.
Business owners popped open their trunks to supply safe surprises to more than 1,000 kids dressed in ghoulish gowns and creepy costumes, and this year, the city added a maze for even more fun.
“As parents, we can feel safe and secure that our kids aren’t just going house to house. You know, it’s kind of scary out there right now, so this [puts] us more at ease,” said El Monte resident Danielle Gonzalez.
Molina said that’s exactly how Paredes wanted parents to feel when he helped start this event.
“For him, I know he and I worked on this last year, and this was his baby,” Molina said. “He would’ve been all smiles like he was last year.”