Children shuffled onto the ice rink with eager grins, coasting from one side to the other in hockey skates while interacting with officers from the Dickinson Police Department, who also bared the jolliest of smiles.
The 2nd Annual Skate with a Cop proved to be another successful event Saturday as more than 300 people showed up at the Carbonneau Area at the West River Ice Center to glide out onto the ice. Created by DPD Officer Chad Hopponen, the event featured a two-hour free skating session with free pizza, drinks and other treats with the help from sponsors including Pizza Ranch, Coca-Cola Co., Kahm Construction and Badlands Big Sticks.
The Dickinson Police Association also donated all free skate rentals to those who didn’t have their own skates. DPD Sgt. Justin Fridrich hoped the entire evening to not fall on his rear end on the ice, he said with a chuckle.
“It’s just a great time for us to get out there and show the community that we’re human and that we like to have fun just like everybody else and get out there and have a good time,” Fridrich said.
Though Fridrich was not as ice-friendly as other fellow officers, he enjoyed lending a hand at the event.
“It’s just a fun event. Everybody likes ice skating; it’s a big thing, hockey is a big thing in North Dakota. (This) gives (parents) a chance to get their kids out and see us in a different light, not just the people that are out there enforcing the laws all the time,” Fridrich said. “We’re family people too, we like to hang out with children and do events like this because it’s just a good thing for the community.”
Several officers, including Lt. Mike Hanel, looked forward to suiting up in skates with the community. Growing up on the ice, Hanel noted that he appreciated the fact that Hopponen coordinated this event for its second year in a row to bring something new to the area.
“Events like this where we come out to the public and just interact and get to know one another ... it’s always beneficial,” Hanel said, adding, “It’s been a tough (past) year, so it’s something to get their mind off of what’s been going on and being able to interact with familiar faces and new faces, and just have fun.”