CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Cranston police are taking community policing to the next level using video games and snacks.
Instead of an ice cream truck, imagine a trailer with TVs, a PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Oculus Quest pulls up in your neighborhood this summer. That’s become a reality, thanks to the Cranston Police Department’s new community outreach trailer.
It’s all part of the department’s ongoing efforts to connect with the community they serve and build relationships with residents from a young age.
It may not have that famous ice cream truck song, but police believe this new addition will strike a chord.
“You may see it at a playground at one of our housing units, maybe giving away some ice cream, Gatorades or something on a hot day,” said Kevin Dutra, captain of the Community Outreach Division.
Dutra told 12 News the trailer made its first appearance at Cranston’s Springfest in May and it was a huge success.
According to Dutra, community policing is at the forefront for many departments after the unrest following George Floyd’s death and a lack of engagement during the pandemic.
“It was like a double blow to law enforcement and we had to climb out of that hole and I think we’re getting there,” he added.
The trailer’s creation was a true community effort. The trailer and awning were acquired through a Taco Comforts White Family Foundation community grant, while Ocean State Truck and Trailer in West Warwick helped with the assembly.
Additionally, the TVs and video games were donated by Rent-A-Center and a popcorn machine was provided by Restaurant Depot.
“Things like this are really bridging the gap, and we’ve seen the difference just in the last couple of years with how active we’ve been in the community,” Dutra said.