PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – One local police department has found a unique way to connect with the community and used the Fourth of July to kick the whole thing off.
It’s been a long time coming, and Operation Copsicle is officially a go in Pittsfield – a way for officers to reach out to the community.
Pittsfield has one of the biggest Fourth of July parades in the area. But this year, there was something special in the parade route. The Operation Copsicle truck made its debut after much anticipation.
“It was awesome to see it,” Tyler Alfonso said. “It’s nice for the community.”
Alfonso was born and raised in the area and said he would have loved something like Operation Copsicle as a kid.
“Oh, I would have loved it,” he said. “Free ice cream? You can’t go wrong with that.”
It’s all a way for the city police to connect with the community.
“We’ve already served a couple hundred kids and adults,” Officer Darren Derby said.
Operation Copsicle was the brain child of Officer Derby. He’s known for his community outreach, and he wanted to find a way to do even more.
“It’s a conversation starter,” he said. “It’s just a quick, ‘Hey, can I have one?’ And it’s just them being able to know they can come up to you and have a conversation.”
Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn said the department is lucky to have an officer like Derby stepping up to the plate.
“It’s a huge asset for us to have someone who’s not just willing to do the work, but represent it and speak about it,” he said.
But Derby said the community was just as much help getting the wheels rolling on the idea.
“It really has been a community project, and they’re the ones that pushed us through,” he said.
People like brothers Jack and Dylan Smith.
“It just gives us a little piece of giving back to the community.”
Dylan said they helped raise more than $1,000 to get Operation Copsicle going.
“We thought, ‘How could we help give back with this man?’ and we came up with we can do raking lawns for people,” he said.
Derby said they stocked the truck on Wednesday with more than 2,000 popsicles to hand out, and the operation is already getting great reaction from the community.
“I think they’re still in kind of awe. Do the police really have an Operation Copsicle?”
And, of course, it was the perfect way to cool off after a day of parade watching.
To find where the truck is, just follow #OperationCopsicle on social media and take a look at Officer Derby’s Facebook page.