‘Dancing Cop’ Remains a Providence, RI Icon
Don’t you wish you loved your job as much as this guy? Well, of course, if you only worked 10 days a year you would probably dance as well. Actually, Tony Lepore, 65, a retired Providence, RI police officer, comes out of retirement for 10 days every December to direct traffic in downtown and to dance.
Lepore is a bit of a tradition in Providence. He retired from the police department in 1988, but the department asked him to come back in 1992. He agreed. Since then he has been paid the same salary – $1,200 – every year at this request.
According to Lepore’s website, he directed traffic the traditional way for several years, but then go the idea to dance from a popular TV show:
He directed traffic the traditional way for two years, and one day in 1984, he got bored. He remembered once watching a clip on “Candid Camera” of some officers in N.Y. in the 50s flamboyantly directing traffic, and thought it was quite entertaining. So, all of a sudden that little boy who was pent up inside came out. His routine was simple. A half spin and some fancy hand movements and before long the Providence Journal had a front page spread titled; “Making traffic flow with a flair”. He didn’t know how his superiors were going to react, but the public reaction was so positive they went along with it.
Now, according to Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine, Lepore is more than just a traffic cop brought in to deal with the increased traffic:
“He is a Rhode Island landmark, more or less. He’s an icon, he’s like a little mini celebrity,” Michelle Peterson, an emergency medical technician who lives in Warwick, Rhode Island, told The Associated Press. “It feels good to see him out here; it definitely brings the holiday spirit.” Karen DeAngelis, of Pawtucket, who got off the bus she was riding to see Lepore perform, says she would make the trip to Providence every year to see him if she could. “I’m not able to, and I just so happened to be here today. He’s that good and he’s that entertaining, and he really cheers people up.” We have to admit, we’d risk a jaywalking ticket to get a closer look.