CABELL COUNTY, WV (WOWK) — Lights and sirens from the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department along with local police departments in six different locations across Cabell County—but not for the reasons you might think.
The reason behind their stops is a much sweeter surprise.
An unusual pairing pulled up around Cabell County Wednesday with one goal in mind:
“Put these happy smiles on these kids’ faces!” says Shirley Sansom, owner and operator of the ‘Ice Cream Guy’ ice cream truck.
This is a partnership between the ‘Ice Cream Guy’ ice cream truck and the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department—and it’s called ‘Operation Copsicle.’
“We just started this summer, this is the first event,” says Deputy First Class Bocky Miller with Cabell County Sheriff’s Department.
“So cool! It’s a great positive influence for the kids and to see you know, police—we need them and they’re friendly and they can help us,” says Didi Riley, who attended ‘Operation Copsicle.’
The whole idea actually came from Shirley’s son Jacob.
“Last year in the fall, Jacob came up, and Jacob has Autism, and he came up with an idea that he wanted to own an ice cream truck,” Shirley says.
When that dream came true, Jacob had another great idea: “That’s one of his loves, is police officers,” Shirley says.
They combined the two interests, and thus ‘Operation Copsicle’ was born.
Both the Huntington and Barboursville Police Departments joined in to help give out the ice cream on Wednesday as well.
Of course, the ice cream isn’t the only sweet thing about these excursions; so are the bonds they’re forming within these communities.
“Everything that’s going on in our society—throughout our country with the negativity with law enforcement in the community—we thought we do something positive. In this area we’re gonna show how our community and our law enforcement do work together,” Miller says.
“I think it’s so important that we bridge the gap. There’s so many children that have fear of police officers, and I think it’s so important for them to feel safe,” Shirley says.
As for the kids? They think it’s a pretty sugary idea, too.
“I think it’s really cool! Because I never seen a real cop before,” says Kendall Johnson, who got ice cream at ‘Operation Copsicle.’
“We get to see lots of police officers and I’m really grateful for them because they help our country,” says Skylar Watson, who also got ice cream at ‘Operation Copsicle.’
Shirley and her son Jacob are giving away all this ice cream for free and from their own pocket.
A GoFundMe page has popped up to assist ‘Operation Copsicle’ in order to keep it going. Shirley says it has grown exponentially thanks to community support.