Easthampton Police issuing ice cream ‘tickets’ to kids

  • Throughout October, the Easthampton Police Department is giving out “tickets” that are good for one kids’ size ice cream cone. Easthampton Police Department

Thursday, October 12, 2017

EASTHAMPTON — Local police officers are issuing “tickets” to kids — but rather than paying a fine, they get ice cream.

Throughout October, the Easthampton Police Department will hand out tickets that are good for a free kids size ice cream cone at Mt. Tom’s Homemade Ice Cream.

Police officers give tickets to children who are practicing good safety skills such as wearing a helmet or looking both ways before they cross the street. Tickets may also be given out to children that may not have had a such a good experience involving police.

Police Chief Robert Alberti said one child got his head stuck in between the vertical bars of a bike rack. Police and fire departments were called to help him out.

“It was his first experience with police and it was traumatic,” he said.

When the ice cream ticket program began, Alberti said an officer went by the child’s house and made sure he got a ticket for a free ice cream cone.

Alberti said the department practices community policing on a day-to-day basis, but the ice cream program continues the effort to build trust with the community.

“We want kids to trust us,” Alberti said.

Jim Ingram, owner of Mt. Tom’s, said when the police department asked him about partnering for the ice cream ticket program, he thought it was a great idea.

“Who wouldn’t be excited about free ice cream?” Ingram said.

Ingram said about six children have come in to get their free ice cream cone. There are variety of flavors popular with children, Ingrams said, such as cookie dough. But there are also special rotating flavors that many kids love, like birthday cake batter and “rainbow poop,” which is blue moon ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.

“It basically tastes like Fruit Loops,” Ingram said.

Alberti said they work to build trust will all groups of people, especially the children in the community who might be fearful of police.

The department posted on Facebook “the officers are looking forward to meeting and talking with the youth in our community in a positive way.”

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.