Snow cones part of police outreach program

When is a snow cone not just a snow cone? If  police are handing them out for free, they can become peace offerings. At least that's how Louis Perkins sees it.

“I feel this is going to make people more comfortable about the situation,” says Perkins.

"The situation" is a nice way of putting it. Lately, we've been bombarded with reports of police shooting unarmed black males and reports of angry black males shooting police officers. That's why the Houston Police Officers Union set up a snow cone stand outside the Sugar Branch Townhomes in southwest Houston, to cool things down with a snow cone and a chat.

But it might not be that simple. Activists from Black Lives Matter have been calling for improvements in police training, especially sensitivity training and de-escalation techniques.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett met with the Houston Area Police Chief's Association on Tuesday. He says law enforcement agencies must and do constantly re-evaluate and change training and tactics to meet the demands of an ever-changing environment. But that costs money.

"It's fascinating to me when you see elected officials say, 'I've got your back. I'll do anything for you except I won't give you any more money or provide you with any more equipment.' How's that got your back?” asks Emmett.

Activist Quanell X says more training is useless. He proposes departments pull officers with fewer than ten years on the force out of communities where they are not the majority and prosecute police who commit crimes -- otherwise, there will be more shootings of officers like in Dallas and Baton Rouge.

“They were not lone wolf shooters in the sense that other young black men are thinking like that," explains Quanell X. "They were lone wolves in what they did, not in what they are thinking.”

The challenge is way too large for a simple snow cone to solve, but it's not a bad start on a hot summer day.

“There's a lot of hatred towards the police and if they go into a different community and stuff like this, it would be way better,” says Perkins as he digs his spoon into the frozen treat.