KOPS-N-KIDS promotes friendship and unity between police and youth


Gloucester police chief John McCarthy and Marisa Orlando pose with the Kops-N-Kids logo


This year, the members of the Gloucester Police Department will be heading back to elementary school to create a strong bond with the youth of the city.  

Gloucester Police Chief John McCarthy created the program to give children positive encounters with the police at a young age. He wanted to allow the kids in grades K-5 to get to know the police department, and understand that they are here to protect them as well as be their friends.

“The first contact that most people have with police is negative,” said McCarthy. “They’re calling because something is wrong; someone stole your bike, someone stole something out of your house, there’s a domestic, in other words, there’s something wrong. My idea was to introduce the police at a young age and let them know that they can be your friend, that they’re there to help you.”

KOPS-N-KIDS is meant to be something fun that the children and the police officers can enjoy. Each elementary school has been visited at least once, and more visits are being planned for the rest of the year.  

“My idea was to get the police into the grammar schools, into the K-5’s, and at a time when the kids were having fun; at lunch, at their recess, in gym.  Not in the classrooms trying to teach them,” said McCarthy. “It’s to let them know that police are there to be there friends, that police will sit down and eat with them. A lot of our guys get behind the serving lines and serve them food. They’ll play at recess with them, just to let them know that we’re regular people.”

“I liked when the police came to my school,” 4th grader at East Gloucester Elementary Cassidy Bolcome. “They ate lunch with us and were really nice.”

“They gave us cards and they’re coming to the school 14 times,” said Bolcome. “Once we have all 14 cards we get to ride in a cop car to and from school which is cool.”

The program is important for the children, as well as the police.  As a way to be even more involved with the kids, McCarthy was given the idea to make baseball cards of each police officer to hand out to the kids.

“We started it because we were over at West Parish and one of our officers, was signing autographs for the kids. All he could do was sign napkins off the lunch table, and a friend of mine who’s a school teacher over there said that the kids treasured those like they were gold, and I thought ‘we have got to do better than that,’” said McCarthy.

The baseball cards have a picture of the officer on the front and their “stats” on the back, such as where they’re from and different facts about them.  

The KOPS-N-KIDS logo was created by GHS alumnus Eric Cameron. McCarthy was presented with many ideas for a potential logo, but couldn’t find the perfect one.  He decided to reach out to the high school and was presented with a logo that encompassed different elements that McCarthy thought would accurately depict the program.  

“I love the city seal,” said McCarthy. “I love that there’s a lighthouse in the back, but I really love that the policemen has the two little kids by the hand.”

Each elementary school will be getting a framed picture of the logo. Each frame was crafted by the GHS cabinet design students.

McCarthy is hopeful that the program will be effective in giving children a positive view of policemen that they will take with them throughout their lives.

“If kids love the cops when they’re young, they’ll love them all their life,” said McCarthy.