It’s not often residents get to see the chief of police spinning like a dreidel, but Tuesday morning, Chief Stephen McCosker, Major Ray Harp and Officer Sam Kimmons visited the Crestview Public Library and helped 25 children in the Ready Readers Class prepare for the holidays and enjoyed some festive activities while they were there.
The Milk and Cookies With a Cop program was part of a new partnership between the two departments and reflected Chief McCosker’s emphasis on building community relations.
“It was a huge success,” youth librarian Heather Nitzel said. “I saw a lot of new faces and many familiar faces. It looks like the beginning of a great partnership.”
The officers joined the 3-to-5-year-olds in the sunny reading room, singing “Jingle Bells” while accompanying the song with hand-held bells; pretending to be a dreidel, the spinning top used in Hanukkah celebrations; and enjoyed Ms. Nitzel singing “The Friendly Beasts,” an old carol that relates the different gifts the stable animals brought the baby Jesus.
Then Officer Kimmons sat down and read “Christmas Cats,” a lavishly illustrated children’s book about four kittens preparing for Santa’s arrival by making and wrapping gifts, decorating their house, baking cookies and cleaning up the kitchen.
Afterward, everyone repaired to the meeting room where the police officers poured cups of milk, passed out cookies and visited with their new young friends and their parents, who enjoyed Good Things donuts and coffee while their children munched cookies and got milk mustaches.
Chief McCosker said a successful year-round “Milk and Cookies With a Cop” program launched under his leadership when he served with the Ocoee Police Department and by partnering with the library, hopes to expand it in Crestview and include older kids as well.
“I would love to do this not just over the summer, but during every school break,” he said.
“It was fun,” said Officer Kimmons afterward. “I’ve read to children before but this is the first time we’ve had milk and cookies afterward. I kinda like that.”