Salute the Badge: EPD Popsicle Patrol spreads kindness

EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) The Emporia Police Department was on a mission to make this summer a little sweeter for people, through a simple act of kindness.

"Popsicle Patrol" is an idea developed by EPD Records Tech Brittany Jones.

"Our community is always really supportive of us, and we wanted to find a way to give back. Since it was summer and there's lots of kids outside playing, we just thought it would be a really cool idea to drive around and pass out some popsicles," said Jones.

She went to her supervisor, Sgt. Lisa Sage, and together they went out on that first patrol, not having any idea how it would impact the community going forward.

"The smiles on those kids' faces that somebody, an authority figure, brought them a popsicle, it was just amazing. It was such a simple act that you wouldn't think it would make such an impact on them, but it really seemed to," said Sgt. Sage.

The next several patrols, Jones and Sgt. Sage teamed up with other EPD officers and detectives reaching more and more people every time.

Jamie Hoyt lives in Emporia with her kids, and was happily surprised when Popsicle Patrol made a stop at the Splash Pad.

"We love that Emporia's law enforcement wants to be present with our children, our children know them, they feel safe with them. We're just so glad they want to be involved in such a positive way with everybody," said Hoyt.

While the first patrol started with kids playing in a park, it grew reaching others in the community including construction workers, the fire department, and anyone they saw passing by.

Once they got started the Emporia Police Department just had one goal in mind: spreading positivity.

Sgt. Sage said, "I'm very passionate about the job that I do and helping serve the community, and a lot of times that message gets misconstrued or misunderstood by the public because of some of the negative things they see with law enforcement."

Jones is not an officer, but works along side them everyday, and that's why she wanted to help them reach the community in this new, and fun way.

"I can't express how important it is that we have these positive connections like this with the community. Our officers are wonderful people and they're so much more than what the uniform and the badge is. They really care about their community, that's why they do their job."

Popsicle Patrol became a big hit on Facebook, and even inspired the next generation. One young girl came to the police department to donate towards the cause.

"She had saw what we did, she heard our message about wanting to pass along kindness to others and just do something nice. She brought us 800 popsicles, so that way we could help keep this going," said Jones.

Other donations also came pouring in from the community.

Now, with summer coming to a close and a new school year beginning, both Jones and Sgt. Sage said Popsicle Patrol will live on.

They plan to pick up right where they left off next summer, and want to encourage others to do the same.

Sgt. Sage said, "I can only hope that other law enforcement agencies kind of follow suit and think of either the same thing or other ways to be kind and show some positivity."