St. Louis police will have a question to ask as they take their new truck into neighborhoods: One scoop or two? Police Chief Sam Dotson calls it "Operation Polar Cops," a truck that will give away ice cream treats at various events, part of an effort to improve community relations. According to the AP, police say the goal is to provide a "fun environment for citizens to have positive interactions with our officers." The truck, retrofitted to look like a typical ice cream truck but dressed in police blue, was unveiled Tuesday. The ice cream truck was purchased by the St. Louis Police Foundation. Prairie Farms Dairy and the grocery chain Schnucks donated the ice cream.
St. Louis police, like many other police departments in the US, are trying to soften the often tense relationship with the community it serves. Police in St. Louis have frequently been the subject of protests following fatal shootings of suspects, especially in the two years since Michael Brown's death in nearby Ferguson. Brown, 18, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. A grand jury and the US Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson. The shooting led to months of protest in Ferguson, St. Louis, and elsewhere, raising awareness about concerns in the black community about treatment by police.