WIU Police donate pint-sized police cars to campus preschool and day care center > ILFOP
MACOMB – Children who are enrolled in the preschool and day care center on the Western Illinois University campus in Macomb are getting to drive their own pint-sized police cars thanks to donations from Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) WIU Lodge 169 members.

Two of the popular children's “Cozy Coupe” vehicles were purchased by FOP Lodge 169 members and donated the first week of May to the campus child care facilities. The preschooler-propelled vehicles are painted and striped just like the full-size ones the kids can see patrolling the WIU campus.

Lodge 169 members had to do some quick thinking to make the donation happen. It turns out that Little Tykes, the makers of Cozy Coupe cars, had discontinued their police car model with lights and siren, and the only available model was a plain black car with “Police” on the doors. They did, however, have a fire rescue vehicle with lights and siren available. So Lodge 169 purchased the fire vehicles and transformed them into police cars by adding paint and striping. Some bicycle helmets for the young officers completed the donation.          

“Sergeant Derek Watts came up with the idea to get cars for the preschools and have them painted to match our police cars. We all loved the idea and decided right away that we wanted to do that,” said Lodge 169 President Liz Henley. “It was a great experience presenting the children with their new 'cruiser' at both of the schools. They were all very excited and could not wait to get in it. It's always fun to see their eyes light up with joy. It was a great way to start building relationships at a young age. We enjoyed it just as much as they did.”   

FOP Lodge 169 also sponsors two little league teams, a girls softball team, and a cub Scout pack. They do a bike safety program in every grade school in the county and provide every first grader with a free bicycle helmet. The campus FOP group also maintains and operates a camp where groups can have meetings, overnighters, and day camps. They donate to Special Olympics, Big Brothers/Big sisters, a women's shelter, St. Baldricks Foundation, and several other local groups. 

“WIU Lodge 169 members may be dealing with furloughs, layoffs and budget cuts, yet they display such praiseworthy and commendable support for their community,” said Illinois FOP President Chris Southwood. “One of the greatest joys we have as law enforcement officers is seeing happy, healthy children grow up safely within our respective communities.”  

Officer Derek Watts Shown

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