St. Louis police use ‘Operation Polar Cops’ ice cream truck to build relationship with communities

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St. Louis police have an ice cream truck and are going to use it to hand out free frozen treats and develop a better relationship with the communities it protects and serves.

Because come on, in this time of cop-civilian tension, who’s going to be mad at someone handing them free ice cream?

The ice cream truck — dubbed Operation Polar Cops — was donated to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department last month. It cost $16,000, paid for with donations. It’s fully loaded and comes equipped with over 6,000 treats and frozen novelties donated by a local dairy and supermarket.

Operation Polar Cops made its debut Tuesday at a local Boys & Girls Club, and it wasn’t a surprise when children had it surrounded in minutes.

But can free ice cream truly bridge the divide?

It couldn’t hurt, says St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.

“This is the way we help ease those tensions, ease those concerns,” Dotson told CNN affiliate KTVI. “Be in the neighborhoods, making friendships, talking to people, leaving a lasting impression.”

Pop up with popsicles

Dotson hopes the ice cream truck will help kids see police as positive role models.

The truck — living up to its motto, “to protect and to serve ice cream” — will hit parks, recreation centers, churches and schools throughout the city, as well as pop up at some community events.

This isn’t an original idea, though. St. Louis police admit they stole it from Operation Hoodsie Cup, a Boston Police Department ice cream truck that runs the streets of Beantown.

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