WESTERLY — Coffee with a Cop, a program through the Westerly Police Department that has become a regular monthly event, has become a popular program among adults in the community. Now the department is working with a local business owner to get children more involved.
The department, in partnership with the Inneractive indoor activity center at 62 Franklin St., will host the first “Ice Cream with a Cop” program on April 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. The event is free and will include opportunities to talk one-on-one with the police.
Westerly Community Officer Howard Mills said Wednesday that the event was developed as a way to expand the Coffee with a Cop program to reach a more family-oriented and “kid-based” target audience.
“We’ve had a great response to the Coffee with a Cop events, but one thing we heard, especially at the recent event at Savoy, was that they weren’t at times that worked for families or those who wanted to bring children to meet with officers,” Mills said.
The department had already planned to conduct a child-seat clinic at Inneractive near the end of April, Mills said, and a conversation with owner Kaley Campbell and Westerly Police Lt. Steven Johnson led to the event being established.
Those interested don’t need to do anything more than just show up. A play pass can be purchased for those interested in using the facility, he said, but families are equally welcome to stop by, have a quick ice cream and run.
Mills said the purpose of the event will remain simple: to establish relationships with families and let children learn more about the role of police officers in a playful, fun environment. He said he hopes this will be the first of many opportunities to come during the warmer months and noted the department also has a Coffee with a Cop in the works for April vacation at Savoy.
“We hope this will be the start of something more regular,” Mills said. “Our goal is to develop a way to better reach out to parents, children and families across the community.”