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‘Everyone loves ice cream, right?’ But not everyone’s a fan of a police ice cream van

Police in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday rolled out an ice cream van designed to build trust in the community, officers said. But critics say police should focus on reforms, not desserts.
Police in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday rolled out an ice cream van designed to build trust in the community, officers said. But critics say police should focus on reforms, not desserts. Phoenix Police Department

Police in Phoenix, Arizona, rolled out their latest crime-fighting vehicle Saturday — an ice cream van intended to help build trust in the community, reported KNXV.

“Everyone loves ice cream, right?” Police Chief Jeri Williams said at the unveiling at a city park, according to KTAR.

Perhaps not so much, at least when it comes from police officers, according to residents Carmayne White, 18, and Shamar Moreland, 19, reported The Arizona Republic.

“I’m going to be honest, I don’t think it’s enough with what’s been happening in the world with police and Black Lives Matter,” Moreland said, according to the publication. “We want justice for the people, not dessert.”

Some on Twitter also weren’t thrilled by the idea. “I scream. You scream. We all scream...Stop Killing Us! PHX cops lead nation in police shootings. Their response: ice cream,” read one post.

Others found some humor in the situation.

“I would have thought DONUT TRUCK,” read one post on Twitter. “Was that hey freeze or brain freeze?” read another Twitter post.

And some thought it sounded like a reasonable idea.

“Sounds like it might be a good way to reduce friction between the community and police, if they can get over that initial hesitation,” wrote one fan on Twitter.

The ice cream van, donated by a local auto dealership, will be deployed year-round at events like the Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods one Saturday, reported KTAR.

“We are really working hard in this G.A.I.N. era and in this time to really engage the young people in the community,” Williams said, according to the station.

“I think an important thing to remember is that we are human and also part of the community,” said police spokeswoman Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, reported the Arizona Republic. “So being able to put a face to the uniform and be able to have a conversation with us is a step forward in the right direction.”

Phoenix isn’t the first police department with an ice cream van — other police agencies across the United States have similar programs, reported KNXV.

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