Westminster Police Department has put a twist on the Coffee with a Cop idea by hosting its first ever ice cream with a cop gathering, dubbed Cops and Robbins, held recently at the Baskin-Robbins store on Westminster Boulevard.
The simple twist became a success, with more than 150 residents attending, including a slew of children usually absent from the coffee events.
“We were trying to change things up, and ice cream sounds better than coffee on a hot summer day,” said Westminster Police Chief Darin Lenyi.
Resident Terry Miller brought her great-great niece, Hazel Daniels, 4, to the event, and says she might not have come without the more kid-friendly nature of Cops and Robbins.
“She likes the cops and the dogs,” Miller said, referring to Officer Steve Booth and his K9 partner, Dragon, who were on hand.
And, of course, the ice cream.
“I had chocolate chip, and half of hers,” Hazel said, referring to Miller.
Commander Scott Gump helped oversee the event and said the turnout was bigger than expected, noting that he had run out of his initial allotment of 100 free scoop tickets and needed to get more.
With the first day of school looming and temperatures hovering in the mid-80s, the timing was nearly perfect. Gump said the department wanted to stage the event before the end of summer vacation to “hang out and let (kids) realize cops are people too.”
The department’s community outreach team was on hand, passing out stickers for the kids and pamphlets for adults. There were also patches, including pink embroidered ones for sale to raise funds to fight breast cancer.
Inside the shop, Deputy Chief Darin Upstill helped scoop ice cream to a line that didn’t slacken for the first hour. In addition to community members, a large number of police, staff, police Explorers and City leaders were on hand, including Councilmember Kimberly Ho and Vice Mayor Carlos Manzo.
“This is a good event, good for the community,” Manzo said. “The police always do a good job. Who doesn’t love ice cream?”
Also on hand were several famous movie cars: the Ecto-1 station wagon from “Ghostbusters;” and Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera from “Cars.” Gump said that anonymous benefactors called and asked if they could bring the vehicles to the event.
Sandra McClure, who offered her services, is the owner of the Baskin-Robbins franchise in Westminster and a volunteer and supporter of the police. She said the police department approached her with the idea and she said she quickly agreed.
“I’m always up for something like this,” she said. “It gives kids a chance to be around kids and see (police) are not big and scary.”
Miller agreed: “This is how (kids) learn that it’s safe to go to (police).”
Community members were invited to bring any issues they wanted to discuss with cops. Miller also said it was refreshing just to have a positive engagement with the police.
“It’s nice to see happy things happening,” she said.