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Cooling down with a cop

Farmville Police Department (FPD) and sweetFrog, the store known for offering premium frozen yogurt, partnered for the first time last week, drawing a stream of families and young people to the sweetFrog location on Midtown Avenue for an event called Cool Down with a Cop on Aug. 1, which was, fittingly, a hot day.

To see more photos of the event, click here.

Children were invited to play cornhole outside with officers and enjoy drawing and games inside sweetFrog while also learning ways that police help them stay safe.

“We’re always willing to reach out to the kids and want to do something special for our community,” FPD Chief A.Q. “Andy” Ellington said at the event. “This is actually a new community outreach (deal) that we’re doing this year.”

He said the event “just gives officers an opportunity to get out and play with the kids, meet the kids and let the children see a different side of the police department.”

“And of course, sweetFrog, this year they’ve joined in and they’re going to donate 20 percent to our community policing fund,” he continued. “We really appreciate what they’re doing for us.”

Bridget Viscel, operations manager of the Farmville sweetFrog location, said her goal for the event was to have sweetFrog embrace the officers and to help children feel comfortable with them.

“There’s so much bad stuff in the news,” she said. “I know a lot of kids that you talk to are like, ‘They’re cops? They’re bad.’ And I want them to know that cops are good.”

She noted that FPD brought McGruff the Crime Dog, a customed FPD detective, to teach the children not to do drugs.

“I love cops,” she said. “I think they’re great.”

Children were also afforded the opportunity to use the FPD’s new electronic fingerprint system, with the help of a detective. And this activity also offered a long-term and potentially vital benefit.

“(It) gives their parents access to a record for their kid that they always have in case they ever get lost or anything,” Ellington said. “We burn it to a CD, and they get to take it home and put it in a safe. If, heaven forbid, anything happens, at least they’ll have it.”