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.
In 2020, Pete, Rob, and the Starfish team were determined to hold this happy and hopeful event despite a tough year. Thanks to the support of our sponsors, including AEP Ohio, we were able to have a scaled-down and very safe version for 100 happy children.
Pete and Rob hope to eventually expand Cops and Barbers nationwide, and 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 Officer 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 in 2019 was friendship bracelets the girls worked on with female officers while talking about issues that are important to them. (This as
Ofc Johnson has patrolled both North and South Linden (2 and 5 Precincts) 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 loves being involved with Cops & Barbers and says that she especially enjoys the fact that for some of the young girls who come to these events, she's the first female officer they have ever seen.
Rob Cayson has been a barber for eleven years. He owns his own shop, Fresche Barbershop. He and Pete became friends in the barbershop 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 hometown. 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 Events
Please check out our In The News section for coverage of both year's events as well. There are lots of fun stories in there, sure to make you smile!