SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A team of dedicated Springfield Police officers put aside their uniforms Saturday and put on a pair of ice skates.
It’s been 21 years since the Stephen O’Brien Memorial Learn to Skate program began at the Cyr Arena in Forest Park.
Police officers with skating skills had taught untold numbers of children how to skate. Deputy Police Chief Cheryl Clapprood heads up the mentoring program.
“To learn to skate is a good example of bonding between the kids and the cops,” said Deputy Chief Clapprood. “The kids need someone to hold them up and so they’re trusting, They find out later it’s a police officer so it’s pretty cool.”
Parents are enthusiastic about this skating program where children of all ages have become skillful skaters. One parent told 22News, he couldn’t possibly have taught his son well as the police have.
“We didn’t know how to teach him and they had techniques that we weren’t familiar with,” said Lee Enderlin. “He picked it up in just a few weeks, but having a mentor, someone to help young kids, it’s just a great program.”
And so it continues on the ice from one generation to the next and it’s free of charge. The learn to skate program continues every Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Cyr Arena through January 6th.
As Deputy Clapprood puts it, it’s a great way of bonding between the cops and the kids.