Protect and serve: Ocala police adding ice cream truck to its fleet

OCALA, Fla. — Ocala police are adding an unconventional new vehicle to its fleet: An ice cream truck.

The vehicle, deemed the Polar Patrol, was unveiled by the department on Thursday.

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The department said it’s the latest initiative aimed to build positive relationships in the community, especially with children.

“When police officers visit neighborhoods and hand out free ice cream to kids and families, we’re going to get to know each other,” Police Chief Mike Balken said. “We’ll be able to talk, listen, and build trust. I believe it will help break down barriers between police and our youth especially.”

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The department said Polar Patrol will take trips out into the community on a regular basis and will be operated by a uniformed police officer.

The Polar Patrol program was made possible by donations from multiple sponsors. The department said the van, design wrap, and ice cream were all also donated.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.