The 4th of July is coming up on Wednesday and that means an annual tradition in the City of Pittsfield; the 4th of July Parade.

While the parade brings out thousands of people in the community, a pre-parade 5K and hundreds of participating marchers, it will also bring the debut of the brand new "Operation Copsicle" ice cream truck.

Due to the ongoing efforts of Officer Darren Derby and the Pittsfield Police Department, along with an absolutely incredible community fundraising effort, the new ice cream truck was received, courtesy of Haddad, in May. Since then, a lot of work has been put into the interior and exterior of the vehicle -- from freezer units, to logos and much more. Leading the way at the 2018 Pittsfield 4th of July Parade, which will feature the posthumous serving as Grand Marshal by Lt. Michael Winston, will be the Pittsfield Police Department. With that, the official unveiling of the brand new ice cream truck for the community.

Officer Derby has been anticipating this moment since the idea for "Operation Copsicle" came to light.

"In the almost 18 years of my law enforcement career, I have never seen the community come together the way it has -- especially when it comes to something law enforcement related," Derby told Live 95.9. "I'm excited to see this newest community policing tool at work."

Once the idea was made public, the community answered in a big way. Between large donations from the VFW, local businesses and even local children -- on multiple occasions -- the dream became a reality quicker than anticipated. Naturally, Officer Derby was worried that the dream would take a long time to become a reality. It didn't due to the belief the community had in the idea.

 

Derby hopes that this will help create a better relationship between the residents of Pittsfield and its police department.

"It will generate thousands of quick conversations between those in the public and those behind the badge," Derby said. "It will be slow going at first as we are testing new waters and seeing what will, and won't work. It has done extraordinary things for other departments across the country that have also obtained their own ice cream truck."

The finished product will be shown to the public for the first time during the 4th of July Parade, but surely there will be several opportunities to see the new ice cream truck in action throughout the summer. While ice cream, and other cold treats, will be a major part of the operation, there will be other exciting things to be on the lookout for.

"We couldn't just have a simple ice cream truck," Derby explained. "We have added an outdoor movie venue to her vehicle with a popcorn machine. Movie Nights have yet to be determined when and where, but will likely start in low income housing developments where many of these children have not been afforded the opportunity to go and see an outdoor movie."

There is a lot to be excited about in the City of Pittsfield, with the new "Operation Copsicle" ice cream truck being added to the list. Officer Derby tells us that your first chance to get ice cream from the truck will be happening at the 4th of July Parade. He has confirmed to Live 95.9 where they will be setting up shop once the vehicle finishes the parade. But, in the spirit of "Where's Waldo?", a fun 4th of July game will be introduced called "Where's Derby?"

In this game, you won't be rewarded with a simple page turn like in the popular children's book series. You'll be rewarded with a Popsicle instead -- and in this heatwave -- that will just hit the spot.