Cops treat youths to pizza |

Cops treat youths to pizza

Aspen Times Staff Report

As part of a yearlong goal to improve relations with local youths, the Aspen Police Department is holding a “Free Pizza in the Park” party on Monday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Rio Grande basketball courts.

Anyone under the age of 21 is invited to attend the event, which community safety officer Rick Magnuson described as “a low-key hangout with the cops.”

Pizza, drinks and other snack foods will be available for lunch, and afterward, plan on playing some hoops or frisbee, he said. Also, youths are encouraged to bring along their bikes and safety gear for spin around town with some of Aspen’s finest.

“We’re trying to improve relations with local youth by having this in an atmosphere where they can look at us as people, and not just as cops,” Magnuson said.

Between five and 10 officers are likely to attend, he added. “Whoever’s in the station, we’re going to try to get down there.”

The department hopes the party is the first of many to come this summer, Magnuson added.

“We’re going to see how the first one goes, and then we may do them weekly, biweekly or monthly, depending on the turnout,” he said.

The events are sponsored by Domino’s Pizza, New York Pizza, Clark’s Market and City Market. “Thanks to our sponsors, it’s at a minimal cost to us,” Magnuson said.

Each year, the Aspen Police Department, along with community members, identifies certain areas in which the force could stand to improve itself. Improved relations between local youths and police is a goal established in that process.

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