Photo Gallery | Cones with a Cop at The Common
PITTSFIELD — If eating an ice cream cone ever becomes an Olympic event, CeCeilia Tenneson is a gold medal contender.
The 5-year-old wasted no time licking her way to victory Tuesday afternoon — and she earned style points for not getting any ice cream on her shirt.
Ceceilia's cone of choice? "Vanilla with rainbow sprinkles," she said.
The kindergartner's mother, Rebecca Sayers, wasn't surprised by her daughter's abilities.
"They're all such good eaters," Sayers said, also referring to her three young children.
For two hours at The Common, CeCeilia and hundreds of other city youngsters lined up at Krispy Cone's vending trailer for freebie vanilla, chocolate or twist cones courtesy of the Pittsfield Police Department. The men and women in blue sponsored the city's inaugural "Cone with a Cop," the department's latest community outreach effort.
Modeled on similar programs across the country, "Cone with a Cop" included the Pittsfield Fire Department handing out toy firefighter helmets and coloring books. Action EMS ambulance and the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office horse mounted unit were also on hand to interact with the children and accompanying adults.
"Four hundred and fifty youths served," said officer Darren Derby. "I was expecting 200 maybe 250. Definitely a surprise. At least a dozen officers joined in. It was chaotic, nonstop from one o'clock until 2:30. It was a good chaotic!"
Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn deemed "Cone with a Cop" a success.
"We have enough community partners, we might pursue this in the future," he said.
Krispy Cone owner John LeVardi is one of those partners who expected to donate about 50 gallons of ice cream dished out by volunteer city police officers.
"I enjoy helping the kids," he said, "and to see their smiling faces is amazing."
The two quarter horses, Billy and Wilkinson, were popular with kids and adults, alike. The horses are trained for mountain rescue, patrols, and to help improve relations between the public and law enforcement, according to Sheriff's officer Stacy Soldato, riding Billy.
"This is what he was meant to do," she said. "He's very calm for this type of work."
The four-legged force was formed three years ago and is still getting acquainted with the Berkshire populace.
"A lot of people are surprised we have a mounted unit, but they love us when we're out," said Wilkinson's rider, Officer Steve Stojda.
Pittsfield Fire Captain Steven Peaslee sees "Cone with a Cop" as another way to showcase local public safety in a fun way.
"It brings together the best of what Pittsfield has to offer," he said. "We're always at a distance and this brings us up close and personal."
Contact Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233.