Police Chief Recounts a ‘Happening’

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Laguna’s version of Woodstock is known as the Christmas Happening.Photo courtesy of Mark Chamberlain.
Laguna’s version of Woodstock is known as the Christmas Happening.Photo courtesy of Mark Chamberlain.

Former Laguna Beach Police Chief Neil Purcell tells his version of the Christmas Happening in Laguna Canyon, circa 1970, at a Laguna Beach Historical Society presentation Thursday, April 7.

The 7:30 p.m. talk at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave., will also be broadcast live on Cox Cable 852, says a society announcement. The public is welcome, particularly those who can share a memory from the event.

Purcell, a 30-year department veteran, is credited with initiating policing techniques to connect the community to the department with officers on foot, bike, and beach patrols. He also worked to ensure gay people received fair treatment by police.

Purcell will discuss the build-up an aftermath of the three-day event attended by 25,000 people.

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