Nearly 100 people visited Carrigan Café in downtown Saline Wednesday to take up Police Chief Jerrod Hart on his offer to buy free ice cream for local kids who were still in town during this spring break week.
When they weren’t scooping ice cream, Chief Hart and Officer Dave Ringe, the department’s school resource officer, were busy horsing around with the kids and mugging for photos with the kids for moms and dads.
The idea for a spring break ice cream social came to Chief Hart when he saw a post in the Saline Posts Facebook Group from a mom who organized a scavenger hunt for her children to keep them active during the week off school.
“I saw the post and thought about my kids, who never went away on spring break, and they were always bored. So, I thought, this would be a great way to have some fun with a little community event on spring break,” Hart said. “After all, who doesn’t like ice cream?”
Hart paid for the ice cream out of his pocket – no taxpayer money involved. And he had to admit, as the Saline Police Department’s post got shared around town Monday and Tuesday, and was seen by more than 11,000 people, he wondered how much he might fork out.
“But it’s for a good cause. It’ll cost me a chunk of money, but it’s well worth it,” Hart said.
Carrigan Café was buzzing with activity Wednesday afternoon as families lined around the counter waiting for their scoop of ice cream. Kids also played board games, took home police-themed toys, and spent time chit-chatting. Amanda Edwards brought three children to the café. She arrived with her friends and their children.
“I thought it was pretty cool. Since we all stayed home on spring break, it was a really nice thing to do,” Edwards said.
Karen Carrigan, owner of the café, enjoyed the event.
“I loved seeing all the kids come in and interact with Officer Dave and Chief Hart, getting to know that the police are just really good, cool people, like everyone else,” Carrigan said.
On more than one occasion, a youngster approached Officer Ringe and Chief Hart to tell them they wanted to be a police officer when they grew up.
That positive energy between the kids and the cops was the story of the event.
“It’s a great way to connect with the kids. Hopefully, they’ll remember this event and that police officers are good people that kids can turn to in their time of need,” Hart said. “We want to build that relationship of trust early. That’s a big reason why Officer Dave Ringe is in his position in the schools – to continue to build relationships and show our youth what law enforcement is about.”