By Joe Gorman
It is a long-held maxim that police officers are often busiest in the summer because of the nice weather and heat.
A local business owner has decided to help at least the officers cool down this summer by offering a free pint of ice cream to officers in police departments across Mahoning County.
Leonard Fisher, owner of Handel’s Ice Cream since 1985, launched the giveaway this summer.
Fisher said he decided to make the gesture because he thought that police officers sometimes perform a thankless task, and he wanted to let them know that their efforts are appreciated.
“We figured this was a good way to say ‘thank you’ to all of them,” Fisher said.
Fisher said each officer at a department in Mahoning County will receive a free pint of ice cream. He said there were no limits on what kind of ice cream they can have.
“They can get whatever they want,” Fisher said.
Youngstown police Chief Robin Lees said all sworn personnel in his department, which is more than 150 officers, received the certificates. Patrol officers received them during roll call, Lees said.
“I just thought it was a nice gesture,” Lees said.
Lees said Fisher contacted him to give the certificates away but he shied away from having a big media event, but Lees said he wanted people to know because he thinks his generosity should be noticed.
“He just pulled up in front of the station and dropped them [certificates] off,” Lees said.
Lees also said he was caught off guard.
“He called me out of the blue,” Lees said. “It was the first time I had talked to him since I had taken office.”
“It’s nice when people who are doing well. ... They take the time to appreciate you, and it was also nice of him to recognize what the men and women down here go through every day,” Lees said.
Fisher said he will offer the certificates again next year. He estimated the total cost of the giveaway for his business at approximately $3,000.
“We just felt the police departments never get enough consideration,” Fisher said. “We will do it again.”