ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police have a question to ask as they take their new truck into neighborhoods: One scoop or two?
Police Chief Sam Dotson calls it “Operation Polar Cops,” a truck that will give away ice cream treats at various events at parks, community centers and schools, part of an effort to improve community relations. Police say the goal is to provide a “fun environment for citizens to have positive interactions with our officers.” The truck, retrofitted to look like a typical ice cream truck but dressed in police blue, was unveiled Tuesday.
“Operation Polar Cops is a unique tool to reach our youngest citizens,” Dotson said. “The goal of this project is simple. It’s about introducing our officers as positive role models in a fun environment.”
Earlier this month, police in Wichita, Kansas, hosted a cookout to promote dialogue between law enforcement and the Black Lives Matter movement. Nearly 2,000 people attended, an event deemed so successful that Police Chief Gordon Ramsay was invited to the White House to discuss community policing.
Dotson said the St. Louis program was inspired by a similar outreach by Boston police, Operation Hoodsie Cup, which began in 2010.
The ice cream truck was purchased by the St. Louis Police Foundation. Prairie Farms Dairy and the grocery chain Schnucks donated more than 6,000 treats.