Pittsfield police want to buy an ice cream truck

March 26, 2018 06:50 PM

PITTSFIELD, MA --  Ice cream might not be the answer to life's problems, but police in Pittsfield think it's a good place to start.

They're trying to buy a police ice cream truck so they can give out free cones and cups.

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Officer Darren Derby saw that Boston P.D. and other departments around the country now have ice cream trucks.  He thought, why not Pittsfield?

It's called "Operation Copsicle."  Police even made their own video about it.

WEB EXTRA: Pittsfield Police Department video about 'Operation Copsicle'

One time each of the last two summers, they borrowed a truck and passed out free ice cream, sponsored by Haddad motors-- hundreds of bars and pops in just a couple of hours.

"It's a dollar an ice cream and I think it's one of the best investments that has come out of this," said Officer Derby.  "The relationships that come out of a dollar.  Really, that's all it is, is a dollar for a conversation."

They noticed that it made quite an impression.   Now, Pittsfield police are raising money for their own truck.  

"Positive interaction, rather than only being there when somebody's getting arrested or somebody's breaking the law," said Officer Derby.  "So that dollar-- it's free to them, but for somebody else to provide that interaction.  And kids remember that for a long time-- long time."

They plan to bring out the truck to a few community events, but they'd also like to deploy it to neighborhoods that have just suffered a violent crime or other disturbing event.

"Kind of bring that neighborhood back to norm somehow," said Officer Derby.  "Obviously, ice cream's not going to solve the crime, but it might give the kids a sense of safety that the police are there."

Officer Derby is known for going out to get to know people in the city.  Even our interview was interrupted by a shout-out of "that's the best officer!" from a passing car.  

He says ice cream may be a simple pleasure, but what they get in return, is priceless.
"It builds trust," said Officer Derby.  "It builds the availability for them to recognize you in the community and say hey, Officer Derby or Officer Klink, or whoever it might be, can I get your ear for a minute?  Because they can trust you.  And that's really where it starts.  If there's no trust in the community, there will be no relationship."

They'll probably need at least $10,000 for a truck.

In just a few days, they've already collected more than $3,000.

From Officer Derby:  "An account has been set up to start receiving donations to go towards buying our very own Community Ice Cream Truck!! We are NOT accepting donations online.

Please make checks payable to PPD Operation Copsicle. 

All donations can be sent to:

Pittsfield Police Department
39 Allen Street
Pittsfield MA 01201

or made directly at the MyCom Federal Credit Union located at 101 Fenn St. across the street from City Hall.

If we receive enough support and funds, we could have this up and running this summer!!"



Kumi Tucker

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