Ice Cream, Students, & Cops
There’s a new law enforcement tool at work in St. Louis. An officer-manned ice cream truck will visit schools, parks, and churches to give ice cream to children. The truck cost $16,000 and was given to the city by the St. Louis Police Foundation, which purchased it with donated money. The ice cream is donated by Schnucks, a local supermarket chain, and by Prairie Farms Dairy.
Operation Polar Cops hopes to help children get to know those who protect and serve, in a time of increased tensions between law enforcement and citizens. This is a positive step for community relations between officers, children, and their parents.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says officers serving ice cream will “be in the neighborhoods, making friendships, talking to people, [and] leaving a lasting impression.” He hopes the ice cream truck will help kids see police officers as positive role models. (CNN, 7-27-16)
A similar program, Operation Hoodsie Cup, has been working in Boston since 2010. In August of 2016, Boston children and law enforcement received a new replacement ice cream truck courtesy of the Boston Police Foundation, funded through donations. Law enforcement officers in Boston have handed out over 120,000 free ice cream treats over the past six years.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans says:
If you had told me 30 years ago that the Boston Police Department would have an ice cream truck as part of its patrol force and my officers would be handing out Hoodsie Cups . . . I would’ve said you were crazy. But, I absolutely love the new truck and everything this program represents. The goodwill it generates between my officers and our city’s young people is undeniable and nothing short of remarkable and my only regret is that I wish we had started doing this 30 years ago. (BPDnews.com, 8-1-16)
One BPD officer said, “It’s about way more than ice cream. It’s about relationships and keeping kids safe. We want kids to like and look up to us. Operation Hoodsie Cup gives us the platform to share that message and make that connection.”