Port Moody police rock latest community initiative

A new generation is being exposed to Cop Rock — and not because the 1990 musical police drama that was once ranked amongst the worst TV shows of all time has found a new life on Netflix.

These are actual rocks. And actual cops.

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Port Moody Police have placed 16 specially painted rocks along the city’s walking trails at Rocky Point Park and on the shoreline, as well as in Bert Flinn Park and at White Pine Beach, that can be exchanged for a prize when turned in at the department’s headquarters on St. Johns Street.

PMPD's Jason Maschke said the scavenger hunt for cop rocks is the latest initiative to further forge the bond between the department and the community it serves. Last year, PMPD invited kids to announce locations of their summertime lemonade stands so officers could drop by for a refreshing drink.

“We have the ability to be friends with the public,” Maschke said of the relationship many officers have with PoMo residents, adding last year’s lemonade callout was so successful, it will be reprised this summer.

Maschke said the idea for the cop rocks grew from the Kindness Rocks Project that originated in the United States in 2015 when a woman painted an inspirational message on a rock and left it on a beach at Cape Cod, Mass. (A similar effort was launched in Coquitlam last year by School District 43 youth counsellor and former Canadian Olympian Leah Pells.) 

Volunteers spent a day painting the rocks of various sizes with police imagery — a badge, caution tape, notepad and even a doughnut. Some include the social-media hashtag #pmpdrocks, although Maschke said the idea behind the scavenger hunt is to encourage residents to put their mobile devices down for a bit to commune with their community through a “family-oriented adventure.”

Since placing the rocks in plain sight, and within five feet of the trails’ edges, last Thursday, and then announcing the endeavour on Facebook, Maschke said the department’s page has received 11,000 views and several rocks have already been returned. In fact, he said, one woman was so excited to redeem the rock she'd found, she broke into a spontaneous dance at the department's front desk, then was joined by a curious officer.

Hmmm, that even could be a scene from a TV show...

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