I saw a report on the local news this week about a group of Rhode Island State Troopers having a pizza party at a Providence housing project.
The pictures on television were of smiling kids, probably all under ten, surrounded by smiling troopers in full uniform.
The Rhode Island State Troopers is an impressive group of men and women. Recognized nationwide for their award-winning uniforms, the demeanor you encounter when facing a Statie, as they're known locally, can be very intimidating. There's not usually a lot of smiling going on.
The Chad Brown housing project is often in the news, not for pizza parties, for shootings and drug busts. There have been many teens and young men and occasionally women, killed there over the last few years. It's a scary neighborhood that you stay out of.
When the cops show up they aren't smiling so this was a really nice story. Part of the department's 2011 Community Outreach Program, it's an opportunity for the kids of Chad Brown to see State and Providence police as mentors, not just investigators. Mostly it just looked like they were all having fun.
It was nice to see something positive in the news for a change.