Nearly 400 flock to ice rink for 3rd Annual Skate with a Cop
"We need more of these events," Kassie Machovsky said.
DICKINSON — From gliding on the ice to the tune of Disney's greatest hits to the delightful enjoyment of soft serve twisted ice cream cones, hundreds of area children swarmed the West River Ice Center this weekend for the Dickinson Police Department's 3rd Annual Skate with a Cop.
Nearly 400 children, parents and community members laced up their skates Saturday evening to enjoy a free two-hour play date with law enforcement.
As soon as the clock struck 6 p.m., cars lined the parking lot of the West River Ice Center and children began to line up — full of excitement to skate with their local police officers.
Created by Dickinson Police Officer Chad Hopponen, the community event showcases a more compassionate, fun side to law enforcement that connects law enforcement with the community they serve.
“This is a very important event for all — the public, the police department — to get everybody involved in the community and ties that community together. It shows that again, we’re cops, but we’re also willing to skate and be normal people and have fun with the people in our community,” Hopponen noted.
Though this event typically draws in a large crowd, Hopponen said he was shocked to see so many constantly on the ice.
“... I feel like this is probably the biggest year we’ve had. It speaks for itself with all the kids on the ice. We’re just happy that everybody made it out,” he said, adding, “It’s an event (that) we’re going to continue to do again each year.”
Along with Dickinson Police officers, McGruff the Crime Dog and Teddy from the Badlands Big Sticks came out for photo ops with children and to also show their moves on the ice rink. Even K-9 Norman made an appearance on the ice with his handler Dickinson Police K-9 Officer Troy Machovsky, whose wife brought their children to the event for the first time.
“This is my kids’ first time ice skating and I haven’t skated in years, so it’s fun to get out on the ice,” Kassie Machovsky said.
Despite not being able to attend the first two years, Machovsky said they were thrilled to be able to support the Dickinson Police Department this year.
“It’s really, really good. We need more of these events, so it’s awesome to see these events here in town,” she said. “It’s important because everybody needs to know that the police officers are here for the community. They’re here not to do just their work, but they’re here for the kids, the families and just being involved with everybody.”
Hopponen noted that the event could not have been a success without the continued sponsorships of the West River Ice Center that covers admission, the Dickinson Police Association for skate rentals as well as Yum Froyo & More, Kahm Construction, Coca-Cola Co., Pizza Ranch and Badlands Big Sticks.
“It’s very exciting for us to have that because more and more every year, it seems to keep getting bigger and bigger,” he added.
Marking his third successful community event, Hopponen said he hopes it’s a tradition that lives on.
“I love putting on my skates. I was born in skates — being from Minnesota,” he said, adding, “I’ve always skated so this is natural for me. As you see, some of our officers are not too natural at it, but… it’s a great event.”