From its initial founding, the Irvine Police department has asked its officers to provide a level of service and respond to a variety of calls that range from the unusual to the unbelievable. Early on Officers assisted Irvine Ranch deputies with cattle drives and helped round up animals that escaped from Lion County Safari, including an elephant that escaped after killing its trainer and a runaway hippo named Bubbles. The closing of Lion Country Safari brought new challenges to the men and women of the Irvine Police department. The opening of the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater (renamed Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in 2001) brought acts such as the Grateful Dead to the city, which often resulted in small riots and necessitated assistance from other Orange County police agencies. Irvine officers were also tasked with patrolling the Orange County Raceway until it’s closing, and assisted the United States Marine Corps with the annual El Toro Air Show. This three-day event brought up to a million visitors in the City.
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