KENT — Jan. 28, 2013: “It is the opinion of this chief, located in a small corner of a great big world, that we need to, as a society, become a little more intolerant of people who commit crimes for a living. When we start yelling about it being unacceptable ... people will take notice and the practice will shift; either by putting people in jail, funding drug treatment or behavioral changes by the criminals.”
Oliver, a father of four who starts many days hugging and high-fiving elementary school students, turned his popularity into a sort of local brand, pitching mugs and T-shirts with “no mopes” logos and his other catchphrases — such as “anywhere but here” or, in reference to a jail breakfast, “enjoy the oatmeal” — to raise money for school security improvements. Purchases and donations have brought in more than $14,000, enough to install panic buttons connecting the five local schools to police. Cameras and intercoms are next.
“How could you not love that guy?” said Tammy Ralston, the graphic designer at Young’s Screenprinting and Embroidery in Cuyahoga Falls, which came up with the “mopes” gear and receives orders from across the country.
Oliver’s supporters include retiree Dennis Kerr of Sherwood, Ark., who bought a T-shirt for his wife while visiting family in nearby Stow.
“The guy really has a load of common sense, and I appreciated him, so we started following him,” Kerr said.
Kerr hopes to meet Oliver and said he considered planning his next Ohio visit to coincide with Brimfield’s parade. Oliver is turning the September event into a walk honoring military veterans and has invited all his Facebook fans.
Everyone, that is, except the mopes.