CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Cranston Police Department is joining forces with a local non-profit to strengthen ties between Rhode Island and the Dominican Republic.
The department is donating seized ATVs and dirt bikes for official police use on the Caribbean island. Mayor Ken Hopkins and and Chief Michael Winquist also donated $500 from the department’s charitable account to Lights & Sirens International (LSI).
LSI, which is based in Providence, uses programs to facilitate police and the community interactions, according to their website. Founder Ibn-Hashim Bakari said the organization’s mission is to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.
“It gives them the opportunity to talk to folks during a traffic stop and say, ‘I’ve visited San Tiego or Bi Nino,'” Founder Ibn-Hashim Bakari said. “The person on the other end looks at the officer a little bit differently—here’s someone that cared and did something for my culture and community.”
Rhode Island has the second-largest Dominican population of any state in the U.S.
“It’s so important that our next generation understands police officers can be their friends and are there to help them,” Winquist said. “We don’t want to be painted with a broad brush, we want people to know we do care about the citizens we protect and serve.”