For Ripon Police Officer Jesse Tipton, last week Tuesday was probably like most other days on the beat.

   Then he saw a couple boys throwing a football around.

   Why not join in? he likely thought. Give those kids a nice memory.

   And, most days, those few moments of tossing the ball around would have passed without any pomp.

   But not on this day. With a little help from a neighbor wielding a camera, combined with the power of social media, Tipton’s quiet evening game of football is being held up as just the right message police should send to the community.

   For Dennis Cotton, the story began with a shout from his wife, Georjean.   

   “The wife was sitting in the front room and saw this all start to evolve, so she called to me and said, ‘You’ve got to see this!” Cotton recalls.

   So he wandered over to the front room, peered out the window and watched as a little pick-up game of football developed ...

   Cotton enjoyed the experience so much, he sent out a link to the video he recorded to a few different people in town, including the Commonwealth, with a simple subject line: “This is what community policing is all about!” ...

   Think this was a one-off moment on a sunny day? Think again.

   Apparently, Tipton and other officers make a habit of building such relationships with kids, at least when the moment presents itself ...

Police leadership, meanwhile, are equally appreciative of the moment Tipton took with these youth ...

Read the full column in the April 13, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.