Hug a cop

Residents turn out to hug police

A few dozen people and a few deputies gathered Wednesday evening in a courthouse parking lot to share smiles, show appreciation and build trust though a homespun event called #HugThePolice.

 It’s not a new hashtag, but Oceanside resident Steve Hasty — who organized Wednesday’s gathering and has helped lead others in Escondido and Oceanside — said he’s hoping the moniker and the sentiment will catch on.

Hasty, who is planning several more events in the coming weeks, said he wants to start a movement on social media and in police parking lots across the region.

“It isn’t police reaching out to the people — it’s the people reaching out to the police,” Hasty said. “That is what makes it real, the fact that it is organic.”

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