Operation Blue Light

Halloween is an exciting time for children and adults. The York County Sheriff’s Office wants everybody to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween. Trick or treating is a fun activity but it also raises concerns for our citizens.

Sadly, we all need to take additional precautions. Several police departments have received reports of men trying to entice children into their vehicles. The York County Sheriff’s Office has received a similar complaint in Shapleigh. On October 11th, a man driving a white van, approached a 15 year old girl who was walking on Route 11 – the man tried to coax the girl to accept a ride from him. She refused. When she took out her cell phone to call for assistance, he sped off toward Route 109.

With this disturbing trend, Sheriff Maurice Ouellette decided to reactivate Operation Blue Light, a program that has been inactive due to budget constraints. The program will have the ancillary benefit of putting more deputies on the streets during Halloween.

The sheriff’s office provides policing services for nine communities, Acton, Shapleigh, Newfield, Waterboro, Cornish, Limerick, Limington, Arundel, and Parsonsfield. We have contract deputies assigned to six of those towns. This Halloween, Sheriff Maurice Ouellette decided to activate “Operation Blue Light” which means each town with a contract deputy will be available to hand out treats to costumed children. They will be positioned in a prominent location with their blue lights activated; each deputy will have treats on hand.

Parents are reminded of the obvious precautions:

Check all treats carefully before allowing children to eat them

  • Provide children with a flashlight and ensure some reflective tape is on their costumes
  • Consider having the children wear make-up instead of masks because masks sometimes obscure vision
  • Don’t let your children trick or treat alone! Please accompany them or ensure a responsible adult is supervising the children’s activities.
  • Do not approach a house that is not lit up

The sheriff’s office also cautions motorists:

  • Please slow down Halloween Night
  • Exercise extreme caution while driving through residential neighborhoods
  • If you are driving children to neighborhoods to trick or treat, ensure they enter and exit you vehicle curbside
  • Drivers should not wear a mask or costume that makes it difficult to operate their vehicles safely
  • Drivers should also be on the lookout for any suspicious vehicles

Parents and children should:

  • Report any suspicious or unusual activity to the sheriff’s office immediately
  • Use costumes that do not restrict movement and masks that do not obscure vision
  • Not cut across yards, use the designated sidewalks
  • Not approach houses that are not well lit
  • Never go into a stranger’s home
  • Discard any homemade or unwrapped treats

Last word of caution – the sheriff’s office, as well as other police departments are on heightened alert for these suspects who have approached children in our communities. Please be our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious.

The sheriff’s office requests that all parents talk with your children about getting into a stranger’s car, truck or van. Please explain to them that you will never send a stranger to get them and they should never agree to help a stranger find their lost pet without your permission.