During a summer filled with heightened tensions between policemen and the some of the communities in which they serve, a few law enforcement officials are finding ways to make people smile.
Police in Halifax, Va. are playing a pretty sweet prank on unsuspecting motorists by pulling them over— but instead of giving them tickets, they're handing out ice cream cones.
Starting last week, Halifax Police Chief Kevin Lands says his officers have been randomly stopping drivers and telling them they’re in violation of “Vehicle Code 1-7-3-9”—driving on a hot day without ice cream.
Officer Brian Warner told CNN affiliate WSET they pulled the prank on about 20 drivers Friday and continued the joke through the weekend.
In a video that’s now gone viral, Warner is seen pulling over a young African American woman.
“Ma’am, are you aware of vehicle code 1-7-3-9?” Warner asks the puzzled driver who shakes her head.
“Well it’s actually against the law to drive on a hot day without an ice cream cone.”
The driver and her passenger erupt in laughter as the officer and his partner hand over prepackaged cones.
The video, filmed by Chief Lands has been viewed more than four million times on Facebook.
“Her reaction was absolutely the best,” said Warner. “It was genuine, and she had us smiling and laughing for a good hour afterwards, and I’ve probably watched the video myself 50 times just laughing… and that’s one of the great things with police work you get to meet people like that on a daily basis, and it makes the job worth it.”
Lands’ police department has just five officers but, says the police chief, the cars are still full of frozen treats so if you find yourself pulled over in the small town, don't be surprised if you end up with a Nutty Buddy instead of a reprimand.
Halifax isn't the only police department bringing smiles to the local community with ice cream.
Prairie Farms Dairy & Schnucks donated an ice cream truck to the St. Louis Police Department for a summer initiative they’re calling “Operation Polar Cops” to promote positive community interactions with law enforcement officials.
The truck, which is operated by the St. Louis Police Department's Community Engagement and Organizational Development Division, has been traveling around the city since mid-July, handing out 6,000 cones, bars and other frozen novelties to kids around the city.