Massillon police handing out 'cop cards' to improve community relations

MASSILLON, Ohio - You've heard of collecting baseball and football cards. Maybe your kids like to pile up the Pokemon cards. But what about "cop cards"?

The Massillon Police Department is launching a new "cop card" program. About 45 officers will be pictured in uniform on the front of the cards and personal information, including hobbies, will be printed on the back.

The first batch of cards was handed out to second graders at Whittier Elementary on Thursday morning.

Sgt. Brian Muntean believes the cards will be collected and traded by many, while also bridging the gap between police and the public at a time when tensions are heightened.

"Probably in the last two or three years, obviously police community relations kind of went south a little bit for a multitude of reasons," he said. "These are a positive contact and in today's day and age, positive police contacts are extremely important."

The cards are being made by Cliff Franks, a photographer and owner of Logo 77. He said other area police departments have taken notice of Massillon's program and may follow suit.

"Heroes can be wearing any uniform, not just baseball and football uniforms," he said.

The department made similar cards in the 90s through the D.A.R.E. program and many kids clamored for them, Muntean said.

More than $3,000 in community donations came into the police department to make the new cards.

Each officer will receive 1,000 cards. Most of them will be passed out over the summer.

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