Denicia Sierra, 5, appeared neither embarrassed nor afraid when she was handcuffed by a police officer Sunday afternoon before a crowd outside Knott's Berry Farm.
In fact, the Anaheim girl was all smiles: She had volunteered to take part in a demonstration by John Reed, a ventriloquist and crime prevention officer with the Santa Ana Police Department. Reed's show, featuring Short-stuff McGruff, a canine dummy known for "taking a bite out of crime," was part of the annual California Crime Prevention Fair sponsored by the Buena Park police.
The fair, on a lawn outside Independence Hall, had exhibits from more than 40 law-enforcement agencies, crime-prevention businesses and private crime-prevention groups.
'Master Keys' Displayed
Perhaps the largest crowd was the one that gathered around Buena Park's police Hostage Rescue (SWAT) Team display. Officers in camouflage fatigues showed off an array of weapons and tools ranging from a 9-mm MP5 Heckler & Koch submachine gun that fires 700 rounds per minute to SWAT team "master keys" such as axes, bolt and lock cutters, sledge hammers and crowbars.
The idea behind the fair is crime resistance, said a member of the Knott's Berry Farm family who worked closely with the Buena Park police to put on the show. "There are all kinds of ways you can teach crime resistance," Steve Knott said. "All we're trying to do is have the community be aware of what police departments do and can do for individuals, families and communities."
The fair also gives people a chance to talk with police officers "like regular folks," Knott said.
'Ever Get Hit in the Tummy?'
Before giving up the stage to a demonstration by the International Kung-fu San Soo Assn., Officer Reed told his young audience how guns, bullets, night sticks ("ever get hit in the tummy?") and tear gas spray ("ever get dirt, onions, pepper or soap in your eyes?") are used. He also told what the weapons should \o7 not \f7 be used for, and reminded children and parents to take every possible precaution around weapons and ammunition.
After little Denicia Sierra climbed onto the stage to help Reed with the handcuff demonstration, she managed to pull a fast one on him. She slipped out of the loosely fastened cuffs that were holding her hands behind her back.
"My hands are too little for these big things," she said.
"Right," Reed agreed. "Handcuffs are for big hands that get in big trouble."