On January 9, 2017 the Astoria Police Department conducted their first ever Cocoa with a Cop. The idea was hatched by teachers at the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department’s Lil’ Sprouts preschool. They presented Chief Brad Johnston a creative special invitation that invited “Astoria’s Finest” to visit “Astoria’s coolest and smartest preschoolers” for Cocoa with a Cop. With such an amazing invitation Astoria Police could not help but work to make it happen.
Detective Thomas Litwin worked with Erin Reding, Recreation Coordinator assigned to Port of Play and Lil’ Sprouts, and Vanessa Marshall, A Child Care Provider at Lil’ Sprouts, to arrange the event. On Monday, Astoria Police and the students from Lil’ Sprouts were ready. Five Astoria Police Department members and about twenty 3 to 5 year olds met in the Sunflower classroom. Everyone enjoyed getting to know each other; the police officers knelt down to look eye to eye with the kids. The kids couldn’t get enough seeing the police officers down at their level, asked tons of questions and thoroughly inspected every item on the officers’ vests. The kids then asked Officer Dan Koehnke to read “The Book With No Pictures” which is a very silly book that left the kids rolling with laughter. Next the officers answered questions including: “how do we use 911?” ”what does a bad guy look like?” “Do police like cookies?” and “Do bees sting police officers?”
After questions and answers it was on to cookies and cocoa. The kids presented a variety of Police themed cookies that were shaped like badges and the state of Oregon with blue lines and “Thank You” iced on them. After the treats, the kids led the Officers to Port of Play where they played tag, chase, obstacle course and more.
From the idea created by the staff at ‘Lil’ Sprouts to real interaction between kids and cops Cocoa with a Cop turned into an amazing event. There is no doubt that Cocoa with a Cop was an opportunity to build an important relationship between the officers and the kids that will last a lifetime.