(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 22, 2017)
Oak Park, MI – Norton the Penguin or Prairie Farms joined police from the Oak Park Public Safety Department Monday to unveil the city’s most unique community engagement tool – the Oak Park Police Ice Cream Truck.
The van will be at community and school events, as well as making trips through the neighborhoods to give free ice cream to neighborhood children (and sometimes to grown ups too).
City Manager Erik Tungate applauded the community effort that went into making the truck a reality, thanking the various Oak Park-based businesses involved. In a press release, Tungate said “The ice cream truck, donated by the City’s Department of Public Works, received bodywork and repairs compliments of Haitham Sebou, Owner of Autobahn Collision. The truck comes equipped with an ice cream freezer donated by Ivan Francis and Samer Farida from Quality Restaurant Equipment Masters. Prairie Farms, through the assistance of Regional Sales Manager David Orlando, will provide 300 ice cream sandwiches per week to be distributed this spring through summer. Troy Police Captain Keith Frye and Troy Public Works Fleet Operations Manager Brian Varney donated the truck’s light bar and installed the music box and speakers. Kevin Dougherty, Owner of Salient Sign Studio, adorned the ice cream truck with colorful vehicle wraps and custom graphics.”
Detective Robert Cook came up with the idea and organized those that made it happen. “It’s easy to have an idea, but it’s another thing to get it done,” he said as he thanked the businesses involved.
Among the community members present for the unveiling was Zakiya Hollifield, a 40-year resident of Oak Park. “I praise them for doing this,” she said. “I have so much respect for our police department. They are the best.”
Hollifield learned about the Public Safety department first hand by taking part in the Citizen’s Police Academy where residents learn different aspects of police and fire work. “They do everything. They don’t just fight crime, but they put out fires and do rescues at accidents and fires. They know how to do it all.”
She’s excited about the ice cream, not just because it’s a yummy treat, but because it will help the police and the community connect. “It’s starting with young people and teaching them that police aren’t bad. They need to be able to talk to the police.”
Oak Park officials also announced that the Public Safety Department would be adding on a K9 unit later this year.
Learn more about the City of Oak Park at http://www.ci.oak-park.mi.us/.