Collect them all: Northampton Police introduce trading cards



Published: 06-08-2017 12:08 AM

NORTHAMPTON — Forget Pokémon cards, or whatever children are trading these days. The newest craze could be trading cards featuring Northampton cops.

On Tuesday, Police Chief Jody Kasper announced a new trading card initiative designed to strengthen ties between officers and children in the community. Other police departments in the area have produced similar cards in the past, including Easthampton and Greenfield.

“Participating officers will be carrying their own personal trading cards with them as they work,” Kasper wrote in a statement.

She added that each card has a photo of the officer and a biography on the back. Cards are numbered, so that kids will know how many more they need to complete their collection, Kasper said. Prizes will be available for kids who collect a “certain number of cards.”

“It is important that children only approach officers when they are not actively involved in a police call, such as a car stop, interviewing witnesses, or directing traffic,” she said.

As part of the program, the department will feature an officer of the week across social media on Mondays. The post will include when the featured officer might work that week, though all participating officers will carry the cards, Kasper said.

The police will launch the program from 11 a.m. to noon on June 24 at Walmart on North King Street. Walmart donated $2,500 for the initiative, according to the police department.

The new program follows the cancellation of “High-Five Friday” in February. During that ill-fated initiative, police visited a different elementary school every week to dish out high-fives to schoolchildren.

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The school district and police department cancelled the program following parent complaints that the program was well-intentioned but not executed properly. A social media backlash ensued.

The department and school district said at the time that they remained committed to outreach, especially because there was no constant police presence in schools since the DARE program’s cancellation several years ago.

In May, the department announced it would assign Officer Douglas Dobson as elementary school liaison.

In addition to his patrol duties, he would spend at least an hour per week at each of the district’s four elementary schools, the department said.

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