The Story of Cops and Barbers
Cops and Barbers is an initiative started in 2018 by Columbus Division of Police Ofc Pete Casuccio and barber Robert Cayson. The goal is to help boys in the inner city start the school year right while providing them with a positive perspective on police by giving the boys fresh haircuts and new school supplies.
Shortly after the first Cops and Barbers, Ofc Casuccio met the newly established Starfish Assignment team and became one of our biggest advocates. Cops and Barbers is now one of the Macro Assignments that Starfish proudly supports, with Rob and Pete involved in every aspect of the two day event.
In 2019, the event expanded from helping 20 kids at one site to providing haircuts and school supplies for 400-500 boys at four sites around Columbus. In addition, thanks to our very generous sponsor, AEP Ohio, we added in a component for girls, which enabled us to provide school supplies and crafts stations for 400-500 girls.
Pete and Rob hope to steadily expand Cops and Barbers every year, eventually going nationwide. Starfish Assignment intends to be right there with them, supporting that dream and their goal of making a difference.
Ofc Emily Johnson
Columbus Division of Police Ofc Emily Johnson leads the girls' component of Cops and Barbers. While Ofc Pete Casuccio and Rob Cayson focus on haircuts for boys, Ofc Johnson focuses on developing our program for girls, which this year will be friendship bracelets the girls can work on with female officers while talking about issues that are important to them.
Ofc Johnson patrols North Linden (2 Precinct), and proudly wears the badge of her uncle, who is a retired Columbus police officer. Her father, a Columbus firefighter, jokes that she "took the wrong test." She looks forward to working on this project and says she's especially excited at the idea that she'll be the first female officer some of these young girls have ever seen, an event that happens to her fairly often when she's on patrol.
Rob Cayson has been a barber for nine years. He works at Longview Barber Shop, a Clintonville landmark. He and Pete became friends in the barber shop and now consider each other family. Rob volunteers numerous hours through multiple charitable organizations, and part of the motivation he has for giving back is due to crimes he committed when he was younger. He moved to Columbus after he was released from prison in order to get away from negative influences in his home town, and due to limited job opportunities available to people with felonies, he became a barber. He focuses his volunteer efforts on ways to keep boys from following the path he did. Cops and Barbers is the result of Pete and Rob's mutual desire to help the youth of the inner city.
Ofc Pete Casuccio
Pete Casuccio is a third generation Columbus police officer who loves his city, his job, and his patrol area of South Linden. He has a passion for giving back and goes to work every day hoping to make a difference.
Cops and Barbers 2019
Our 2019 event was held on August 18 and 19 at four locations in Columbus, with over 1,000 children receiving school supplies thanks to our premier sponsor, AEP Ohio. Boys received haircuts, and girls made friendship bracelets with female officers. The friendship bracelets actually turned out to be a huge hit with boys (and parents) as well.
Special thanks to our partner sites Adams Community Center, St. Stephens Community House, Gladden Community House, and Reeb Avenue Center. We could not have done it without our premier sponsor, AEP Ohio, and the tremendous support of the Columbus Division of Police. In addition, we would like to extend our deepest appreciation to our other sponsors, Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, Inc; Fraternal Order of Police, Capital City Lodge #9; 614 Barber Supply; Walmart; Big Lots; The City of Columbus Recreation and Parks; Trendy Charlie; and the many other groups and individuals who devoted their time and energy to helping us make this special event such a huge success. Thank you!