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Children, parents enjoy Operation: No Tricks on Halloween

MADAWASKA, Maine — Members of the Madawaska Port of Entry Customs and Border Protection agency, Border Patrol, and Madawaska police, ambulance and fire departments joined forces Halloween night, taking to the streets to ensure the safety of trick-or-treaters in Madawaska.

This was the second year that the Madawaska public safety agencies and border officers united for the safety of the Valley’s youngsters on Halloween night. The officers handed out candy and glow sticks, while the safety vehicles flashed their lights to alert drivers to slow down for the children.

Jodie Theriault, CBP officer and outreach coordinator, said last week that the reason she created Operation: No Tricks, was to interact with the youth in the community.

“But the more important reason is to keep kids safe,” she said.

Vehicles were stationed from 19th Avenue and Fox Street up to Dionne Avenue and 21st Avenue. Officer Trevor Bellefleur of the Madawaska Police Department was stationed at the intersection of Dionne and 21st, where he handed out candy and glow sticks.

“We’re here on Halloween night, it’s a little cold,” Bellefleur said. “The kids all seem really happy to see us, all seem really happy to get some candy.”

Addison True, a 3-year-old trick-or-treater was out hunting for candy and dressed as a “nice monster.”

When asked about her favorite part of that night, True said, “I like the cars,”  as she pointed to the police and border patrol cars with their flashing lights.

“We’re handing out glow sticks, telling the kids to be safe, and it’s all for a good cause,” Bellefleur said. “The parents like seeing us a lot too, so that’s good.”

Kerry O’Brien, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Madawaska Elementary School was out with her son and his friends and was astonished by the involvement of the officers.

“They’re keeping our little ones safe and they’re slowing down the traffic,” she said.

She also noted that the friendly presence of the officers would help to gain the trust and respect of the children.

The officers are forming “that community partnership with them that makes all the difference so that the kids trust them if there is ever really an emergency,” O’Brien said.

Many people driving around the neighborhood slowed down when they saw the safety vehicles. Some people even stopped to ask the officers if everything was OK.

“We teach the kids at school to walk and not run across the street, but the excitement gets overwhelming and the fact that [the officers] are slowing down traffic means the world to the parents,” O’Brien said.

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