DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Several Durham police officers pulled together to buy and pass out over 500 freeze pops to share with children and others in the community this past weekend.
According to the Durham Police Department, the officers used their own money to buy over 600 freeze pops, dry ice, and coolers and passed out the freeze pops at Durham parks this past weekend.
The officer's passed out freeze pops . . .
Gave hugs . . .
And handed out high fives.
Investigator Matthew Farrell said it was a good way to get to know the community they're serving.
"I had a great time meeting the residents," Farrell said. "One hundred percent of them I had never met before and it was great to get out and meet new people, plus they were all in the beat that we work in, they're all local to Durham so they're people that we would be protecting and serving."
Corporal Joseph Stewart, who's been with the Durham Police Department for 12 years, said it felt like just as much of a fun break for him as he imagined it was for local residents.
"I think the whole goal of what we do is to make the community a better place," Stewart said "And it's easy for us to get caught up in the aspect of taking people to jail or issuing citations, and it's as important for us to do fun things, like giving out freeze pops, as it is for the community to see us, you know, giving out freeze pops and not just be that group that's here to come and get you."
Officer Randy Shepard said he felt the same way and shared his message for the citizens he serves.
"I want them to know that we're people too and we enjoy interacting with the citizens of Durham in a positive manner, for a change, and it was enjoyable," Shepard said. "I enjoyed the whole day."
Watch the officers talk about why they wanted to do something like this.
District Sergeant Dale Gunter said they just wanted to set a positive example for kids and show them police officers are more than just people who put others in jail.
"Kids learn by watching and just doing that teaches kids to give and to share," Gunter said. "And we just did it for the kids."
"Kids are often told by their parents 'be good or I'll have the police take you away.' We hear that a lot and we try to impart to the parents and to the children that we're not there for taking them anywhere, that we're the good guy, he added.
"They need to come to us when something's wrong, and we want kids to be able to approach us. We want kids to be able to talk to us, and we want kids to see us in the light that we need to be seen in. We're positive role models.
"So doing this for children, it not only shows the children that we're approachable and that we're people just like they are, but it also teaches them a lot of good attributes that they need. Children learn by seeing and watching so it teaches them good things that they can carry on through life."
Watch Sergeant Dale Gunter explain why he wanted to pass out freeze pops.
The officers said they wanted folks to have fun and invited Durham residents out to enjoy the free sweet treats via an email which said:
"It's as American as apple pie and as fun as a fireflies and french fries. Freeze Pops...invented by Fredick McFreezyface in the early 1840's, so they've been around for a freakishly long time. Fun fact...freeze pops also happen to be a favored flavored frozen treat as well as a fabulous fruity preventer of frowny faces. How frequently have you found a furious fella involved in a fracas with a freezie pop? I'd say fairley few in frequency. What's all this have to do with your favorite flat footed Five-O's? Absolutely nothing...nada...fandango finito! Why am I feverishly focusing on frozen freeze pops? Mostly because I favor these frigid concotions when the fahrenheit is ferociously formidable...so Im inviting you to come to this freeze pop festivity...cops and pops...see what I did there? Bring your family, force em if you prefer...and fetch your favorite friends and fellowship over a freeze pop . My four or five fine fellas of the fantastic force will be in Northgate Park this Saturday (the 18th) with four hundred fabulous freeze pops at 4pm....free to flip those frowny faces until they're finally finished! Why you wonder? Well...because I favor these frigid frosty freeze pops! Fortunately, folks have their own special formula of feasting on a freeze pop...so flock to the festivities and flavor up your faces with us to beat the heat."