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Instead Of Breaking Up The Party, Asheville, N.C., Police Join In

The celebration looked as if it was coming to a crashing halt.

A group of neighborhood kids had been taking full advantage of a huge slip-and-slide at an annual Fourth of July block party in Asheville, N.C., on Sunday, when city police officers pulled up in their cruiser.

The kids stopped and stared.

Somebody had called with a noise complaint and said the slip-and-slide was blocking the street.

Officer Carrie Lee quickly decided that it was off to the side and that there were no issues. Then she zeroed in on it for another reason.

"I was kind of blown away with the magnitude of the slip-and-slide," Lee told NPR. "I said, 'Give me a trash bag. I will go down.' "

Lee said the partygoers just laughed. "I said, 'I'm serious, give me a trash bag.' " So someone handed over a heavy-duty bag and down Lee went, a child following closely behind, as cellphone videos rolled.

"I'm a spontaneous person, a kid at heart," Lee said.

She was able to persuade her partner, Officer Joe Jones, to also take a spin. Being too tall for a trash bag, Jones got on an inflatable raft.

Partygoers' videos of police getting in on some lighthearted fun have been picked up by numerous national news outlets, including CNN, at a time when publicity surrounding police is often much darker.

And while Lee says she thought video of her and her partner going down the slide would get passed around Facebook, "It has gotten a lot bigger than I expected it would."

"I think it's just something fun that people don't see every day, police going down a slip-and-slide" Lee said. "It's a great way for us to show the public that we are just normal people. We like to have fun."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Amy Held is an editor on the newscast unit. She regularly reports breaking news on air and online.