Lawrence (MA) Police Department Wins COPS Office Photo Contest

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, August 19, 2021
COPS Office Public Affairs
(202) 514-9079


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is pleased to feature the Lawrence (MA) Police Department (LAWPD) as its “Community Policing in Action” Photo Contest winner for August 2021.

The winning photo features officers of the LAWPD, the only minority-majority police force in Massachusetts, handing out ice cream to community members. In warm weather, the truck, embellished with the slogan “To Protect and Serve Ice Cream,” rolls through residential neighborhoods three or four times a week, giving out cool treats donated by local businesses. It also gives out ice cream at local events when requested.

“A lot of people thought this was a strange idea,” said LAWPD Chief Roy Vasque. “Even the mayor said, ‘Why are you doing this?’ But as soon as it started, we realized it was a huge success. Not just because we got to put a lot of smiles on kids’ and parents’ faces, but because we engaged with a lot of people we wouldn’t have otherwise, and in a personal and positive way.”

“I especially wanted kids to see our police in a good light, since their interactions with us are often not during the best circumstances,” he says.

“It fosters conversations with the adults too, about a whole host of issues, not just about Lawrence and what’s going on in their community, but about what they see happening in our country. We learn a lot from these discussions.”

View the winning photo on the COPS Office website, as well as on the COPS Office’s official Twitter profile and Facebook page. LAWPD’s commitment to community policing and its dedication to protecting members of the Lawrence community are also chronicled in the August 2021 edition of the COPS Office e-newsletter, the Community Policing Dispatch.

The COPS Office is the federal component of the Department of Justice responsible for advancing community policing nationwide. The only Department of Justice agency with policing in its name, the COPS Office was established in 1994 and has been the cornerstone of the nation’s crime fighting strategy with grants, a variety of knowledge resource products, and training and technical assistance. Through the years, the COPS Office has become the go-to organization for law enforcement agencies across the country and continues to listen to the field and provide the resources that are needed to reduce crime and build trust between law enforcement and the communities served. The COPS Office has invested more than $14 billion to advance community policing, including grants awarded to more than 13,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to fund the hiring and redeployment of more than 134,000 officers.