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‘Pumpkin Patrols’ set for wingman duty on Halloween evening

By Robert Goetz | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Oct. 31, 2018

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

Trick-or-treaters at Joint Base San Antonio locations will again have a dedicated crew of wingmen close by to ensure that the night of the Great Pumpkin is a safe one for them.

“Pumpkin Patrols” comprising security forces squadron members and other volunteers from JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph will maintain a vigilant posture throughout Halloween evening, Oct. 31, as children dressed as superheroes, Star Wars characters, otherworldly creatures and other personas of their choice seek treats in JBSA’s housing areas.        

“Pumpkin Patrol is a way for security forces and other volunteers to get out on Halloween and keep an eye on our kids and community,” said Tech. Sgt. Angelina Simms, 902nd Security Forces Squadron NCO in charge of police services.

Pumpkin Patrols at JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph will keep watch from 5-8 p.m.

“Our procedure is to have a security forces walking patrol,” said Tech. Sgt. Gabriel Larrazabal, 802nd SFS Installation Security Team member. “All housing areas at JBSA-Lackland will be covered – Frank Tejeda West at the Medina Training Annex, Lemay Estates adjacent to the golf course, Airman Scott Village across from the exchange, and Frank Tejeda East and North Skeet adjacent to the Balfour Beatty Community management office.”

At JBSA-Randolph, walking patrols will be augmented by volunteers driving golf carts, Simms said.

“We will have some volunteers driving around on golf carts handing out glow sticks and candy along with some volunteers on foot,” she said. “We like to hand out glow sticks so our kids can be seen in the dark, hand out candy to build community relations and maintain a strong presence in base housing to prevent any criminal mischief.”

JBSA-Fort Sam Houston’s Pumpkin Patrol will help keep trick-or-treaters safe from 6-8 p.m., said Lt. Steven Dews, 502nd SFS police supervisor.

“McGruff the Crime Dog will serve as captain of the Pumpkin Patrol platoon,” he said. “There will be two-man teams on foot patrol in the designated Lincoln Military Housing areas. However, staff post general officers’ homes will be off-limits to trick-or-treaters.”

One safety suggestion is that parents refrain from driving their trick-or-treaters through the housing areas, Dews said.

“The foot patrols will be discouraging vehicle traffic in the designated housing areas,” he said. “They will be recommending parking at the community centers and walking the routes of the housing areas of their choice.”

Staff Sgt. Tristan Streetman, 502nd Air Base Wing Safety Office occupational safety specialist, offered other safety tips applicable to any trick-or-treating situation, whether it’s in the JBSA housing areas or civilian communities.

“Some things everyone can do to help alleviate the risks associated with Halloween are to ensure costumes are easy to see by using light-colored clothing and always carry flashlights or glow sticks, or wear reflective material,” he said. “Use crosswalks anytime you want to cross the street and use nonverbal communication such as eye contact, looking both ways or using hand signals when attempting to cross the street so both the vehicle operator and pedestrians are aware of each other. If you’re driving, make sure to slow down and be extra alert.”

Other suggestions are to be aware of your surroundings, don’t talk to strangers, don’t take any vehicle rides and have an adult inspect candy and other treats prior to consumption. Motorists must use their headlights, yield for all pedestrians, follow the posted speed limits and slow down when children are present.

Halloween events at JBSA youth centers, community schools and churches, and other venues are an alternative to trick-or-treating, Streetman said.

“This is always a great idea because, like with many organized activities, they are in well-lit areas and have been coordinated with local organizations,” he said.

Some events planned at JBSA include:

  • Super Heroes Howl Down, an event hosted by the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Family & Readiness Center Exceptional Family Member Program, 5-9 p.m. Oct. 26 at the M&FRC
  • JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Youth Programs’ Halloween at the Haunted Trail and Halloween Carnival, 7-10 p.m. Oct. 27 at the golf course
  • JBSA-Lackland Youth Programs’ Trunk-r-Treat, 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31 at the youth programs parking lot
  • JBSA-Randolph Youth Programs’ Fall Hi-Jinx, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 31 in the youth center gym.