Black Creek Police won’t let naysayer deter them from community outreach

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 4:32 PM CDT
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BLACK CREEK, Wis. (WBAY) -The Black Creek Police Chief is standing up for his department’s decision to hand out treats on hot summer days. And he says the tradition will continue -- despite the questions by a naysayer.

On hot summer days, Lake Park in Black Creek is a popular hangout. So earlier this week, the police chief summoned his on-duty staff to meet him at the park to handout freezer pops to kids and families playing at the beach.

“Once you pull out the first couple, all the kids see it and come running over, and we just walked around and handed freeze pops. Kids came running out of the lake. It was kind of fun,” says Sgt. Jeff Koehler.

And the treats were a hit. According to Chief Lowell James, “As we walked out, the people applauded. We were probably 50 to 75 feet away from the water and they were still yelling thank you.”

Which is why the chief was shocked, after posting about the freezer pop frenzy on Facebook, to receive an anonymous voicemail the next day, questioning if the freezer pops were paid for with taxpayer money and if the officers were getting paid to hand them out. Chief James says, “I never ever in my wildest dreams thought I’d be defending it.”

The chief, as he explained in a follow-up Facebook post which included a copy of the receipt for the freezer pop purchase, said he paid for them out of his own pocket. And while his officers are entitled to breaks, their visit to the park is exactly how he wants his department to be interacting with the public, understanding the value in kids seeing police officers in non-critical or crisis situations.

“There’s no way to put a price tag on it because of the connections that are made. And they would never get in trouble for it. I encourage them to have conversations with the children,” adds Chief James.

And despite one person questioning the act of kindness, the chief says his department will continue to interact with the public this way -- especially now that several citizens have donated even more ice pops to be handed out.

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