Lawrence Police giving away Royals baseball cards to build community support

photo by: Boys and Girls Club

From left, Lawrence Police officers Meghan Bardwell and Kacey Wiltz hand out baseball cards to children on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at the Boys & Girls Club.

Teaming up with the Kansas City Royals and Royals Charities, Lawrence police officers are now packing “Cops Are Topps” baseball cards to hand out to the community while they’re on patrol.

Lawrence Police Sgt. Amy Rhoads said officers started handing out the trading cards recently to help build a closer relationship with the younger Lawrence community.

“I handed out some cards this morning, and the kids just loved it,” Rhoads said last Friday. “One of the boys who was down there, he said ‘I don’t know who these players are.’ So I flipped through the cards and found one of Alex Gordon, and he was like, ‘I know who that is! Can I have that one?'”

Rhoads encouraged anybody interested in the cards to simply ask a police officer, as long as the officer is not responding to an emergency.

“We have thousands of cards right now,” Rhoads said. “However, my guess is they’re going to go a little quick.”

The official Topps cards have current Royals players on one side and safety tips on the other, including links to Crime Stoppers and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Along with the police department’s Twitter account, which currently boasts a follower count larger than the population of Lawrence, the baseball cards are just another way the department wants to connect with the public, Rhoads said.

photo by: Lawrence Police Department

Officer Kacey Wiltz poses with several Topps baseball trading cards outside of her patrol vehicle on Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at the Lawrence Police Department headquarters on Bob Billings Parkway.

“We’re trying to show the community the more human side of the police department,” Rhoads said.

The current “Cops Are Topps” program launched in 2017 as a partnership between the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Power and Light. Ben Aken, Royals vice president of community relations, said over 60 police and fire departments participated in the program across Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

“Baseball cards have been around … for a very long time, so I think people of all ages have appreciated (them),” Aken said. “It’s such a common thing you can share.”

The program prints 250,000 cards with updated rosters each year to distribute to area departments. Aken said programs like the 50-50 raffle at Royals baseball games helped fund the trading cards, along with other Royals Charities programs.

While the cards are official Topps baseball cards, Aken said they aren’t really meant to be collector items.

“We don’t set out for them to be collector cards, but occasionally I have seen them on eBay,” Aken said. “For the most part, they’re fun collectibles for kids.”

photo by: Lawrence Police Department

Lawrence Police officer Amaury Collado sorts through multiple packs of Royals “Cop are Topps” cards inside his patrol vehicle on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.


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