All it took was a SpongeBob freeze pop to make one little boy happy and perhaps more trusting of police officers.
Shiloh Police Officer Lawrence Wise was out on patrol on a nice day last month when a lot of children were playing outside on Oxen Drive. He was interacting with the kids and noticed one little boy who was crying.
“I knew he was already a little terrified of the police,” Wise said.
Wise tried talking to the boy. By chance, the ice cream truck rolled by and Wise asked the little boy if he wanted one. The boy, whose name Wise doesn’t know, pointed to a SpongeBob freeze pop.
Wise bought one for the boy, who eventually gave him a high-five and waved while he was walking away.
Unbeknownst to Wise, a Shiloh resident captured the purchase from the ice cream truck on video and posted it on Facebook. The video has been viewed more than 53,000 times.
“This was a shock to me,” Wise said. “It was definitely, ‘Where did this come from?’”
Wise, who has been a police officer for seven years, said it’s important to have positive interactions with members of the community, especially with children and young people.
Wise, 30, has been with the Shiloh Police Department since January. Prior to that, he was an officer with the Venice Police Department.
“In my experience coming from Venice, a small town, you have to interact with the kids, because the mindset of a lot of children now is the police are bad,” Wise said.
If the children grow up and remember a positive interaction with a police officer, whether it was an ice cream purchase or shooting hoops, Wise said, “that can honestly go a long way.”