Ark City Police wrap up another successful Popsicle Patrol season
Ponca City Now - October 2, 2019 9:47 am
ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Arkansas City Police Department recently wrapped up its annual Popsicle Patrol program, with a major increase in the popsicles distributed this summer.
A total of 1,749 popsicles were shared with the community, which is up nearly 355 percent from last year’s total of 505 popsicles, according to ACPD Capt. Eric Burr, who said the Popsicle Patrol program is a centerpiece for the department’s improved community outreach approach to policing.
ACPD identified increased positive interaction with the Arkansas City community as one of its primary goals in a strategic plan that was first rolled out in 2014.
Since then, police have taken many positive steps toward increasing community contacts through such programs as Popsicle Patrol, Coffee with a Cop, and school-based programs like the Cops in Schools lunch program and Adopt-a-School.
“Members of the department are not slowing down — BadgeTOBER begins today,” Burr said.
The BadgeTOBER initiative focuses on distributing sticker badges to both young and old alike, again with the goal of increasing positive police-citizen interactions.
The community itself contributed greatly to this year’s Popsicle Patrol efforts. Beginning in April, Dillons campaigned through its customers to provide free popsicles to the police department.
This effort netted more than 10,000 popsicles, procured at no cost to the department. When word spread about the donation drive, many citizens stopped in at the department to drop off free popsicles.
“We couldn’t be happier with the amount of support we received for this program,” Burr said. “What Dillons did for us was amazing! We also saw local children come in and donate packages of popsicles. This program afforded them the opportunity to give back and to know the feeling of giving.”
“Throughout the program, we keep hundreds of popsicles frozen at any given time,” Burr added.
“When we had donations come in, we made sure the kids left with a frozen treat.”
ACPD not only has documented an increase in the number of popsicles it distributed in 2019, but it also has increased the number of police department personnel who participate in the program.
Many of the department’s outreach programs are voluntary on the part of the employees. A total of 21 employees participated this year, which was up from 18 last year, according to Burr. Seventeen of those 21 went out more than one time. Three employees went out six times to make positive contacts.
Department members sought out local kids at events such as Tacolalah, the Ark City Farm and Art Market and IYQ Camp, and even attended Jefferson Elementary School’s “Play Day,” where they were able to give almost every student in the school a cool treat.