‘Skate with a Cop’ event unites police officers and happy kids in Gladstone

GLADSTONE, Mo. -- What do you get when you connect excited Gladstone cops with a lot of ecstatic kids? How about a cool community event where everyone has a blast.

“It’s really a lot of fun for all of us,” said Officer Megan Blackburn who’s been with the Gladstone Police Department for more than three years.

“Yeah, it’s nice. It’s just a way for people to come out and meet us,” added Officer Austin Prindle, on the Gladstone force for two years.

Wednesday night, about a dozen Gladstone police officers were off the streets and on the skating rink near their department. For the officers, it was all about making new friends with adorable three-year-olds, curious Girl Scouts and many more.

“You know, we get new people, new officers all the time, so it’s nice to get them out of their comfort zone, you know, get out and meet some kids and meet the community,” Officer Austin Prindle said with a smile.

The Gladstone Department of Public Safety recently started hosting monthly events so more people can meet and interact with the police officers who serve, protect and patrol their community.

For more than two hours, dozens of happy kids on the go enjoyed every minute of skating with the cops.

“It makes a big difference being able to do these events and being able to connect with the community, especially these little ones. They get to realize police aren’t scary people. We’re just like everybody else," Blackburn said.

For the picture-taking parents, seeing their kids make those special cop connections, was priceless. Cathy Hupp took her seven-year-old daughter and her nine-year-old son to the event.

“Oh, I think it’s definitely a good thing. It just makes people realize that police officers are people, too,” Hupp said.

Those people behind the badge proved their fun time was more than just a skating event.

“There’s no drama whatsoever. It’s just a fun time for the kids,” said Kim Peek, a Kansas City grandmother who took her three-year-old granddaughter Brianna to the event.

“And those kids become familiar with us, and they see us day in and day out, so it really makes a big difference,” Blackburn said.