City police will not hand out candy to kids after criticism - KMOV.com

City police will not hand out candy to kids after criticism

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A St. Louis officer with a bag of candy on Monday. (Credit: KMOV) A St. Louis officer with a bag of candy on Monday. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

Police in St. Louis City will not hand out candy to kids as part of an effort to build relationships, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said on Tuesday.

The decision came after criticism on social media.

Starting Monday, police officers in the City of St. Louis were going to try something new to improve relationships with the youth: Handing out candy.          

“Community policing” has become a buzz term in the last few years as a law enforcement officials try to find ways to bridge the divide between some neighborhoods and officers.

In a tweet Sunday afternoon, newly appointed Police Chief John Hayden said officers were going to distribute candy from their patrol cars to “build relationships with youth in our community.” He added, “It’s the little things that often do the most good.”

This idea isn’t completely new. Back in the summer of 2016, former Chief Sam Dotson unveiled “Operation Polar Cops,” an ice cream truck that drove around the city so police could hand out free treats.

The candy giveaway was going to be the second strategy Chief Hayden announced since he took over in December. The other one includes focusing on an area of the city’s north side he’s deemed a “crime rectangle.”

Officer Timothy Tripp says when he was a kid when he saw a police car he knew he would get something.

"I always knew I would get bubble gum and baseball cards from the police," said Officer Tripp.

Dozens of people on Twitter chimed in to respond to the chief’s tweet. Many of them were critical, saying trust issues between some police officers and youth can’t be solved with candy. Others applauded the chief for at least trying something new.

All of the candy was donated and will be used for other projects.

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