Cops and Barbers is an initiative to help youth in the inner city of Columbus start the school year right by providing them with a positive perspective on police and giving them fresh haircuts and new school supplies.

The two-day event took place on Sunday, August 18, 2019 in Columbus’ south side and Hilltop areas and on Monday, August 19, 2019 in the city’s east side and South Linden areas. This year, with the added support from AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs as the event’s premier sponsor, Cops and Barbers served more children than last year, including a new component for young girls.


“When we heard the story of Cops and Barbers, we knew we had to invest both time and financial support,” said Tracie Campbell, energy efficiency program coordinator for AEP Ohio. “This initiative is making a difference in our communities by enriching the lives of the next generation and we’re proud to be a part of those efforts.” 

Boys received a fresh haircut and girls had the opportunity to create a friendship bracelet with female police officers. All participants also received a backpack with new school supplies. Participants were also able to enjoy visits from the Columbus Division of Police’s mounted patrol and helicopter while the City of Columbus taught bicycle safety and AEP Ohio’s lineworkers gave rides in a bucket truck and the energy efficiency team gave out free lightbulbs and nightlights. 

“What better way to start a kid off going to school than by having them a fresh haircut which makes you look good. If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, it gives you more confidence about yourself,” said Campbell. 

In 2018, Pete Casuccio and Robert Cayson started the Cops and Barbers initiative serving 20 kids. 

“Rob Cayson, a current barber and former felon, and Pete Casuccio, a Columbus police officer, bonded over a haircut and shared passion for steering inner city youth down the right path,” explained Nicole Banks, president and founder of Starfish Assignment, a Columbus-based non-profit that helps connect law enforcement officers with the communities they serve.

With Rob’s experience as a barber and his childhood, giving back to children that have a similar childhood to his is natural for him. 

“We are making sure they look good on their first day of school because a lot of people can’t afford that. And, I come from a place that people can’t afford a lot of stuff,” Rob said. 

For Pete, Cops and Barbers is much more to him than just a haircut and fun event for children. 

“The best type of crime prevention is connecting with kids when they are young and giving them that spark of confidence,” said Pete Casuccio, officer for the Columbus Division of Police. “A fresh haircut and school supplies might be the motivation they need to stay in school and continue down the right path.”

15 responses to “‘Cops and Barbers’ Event Delivers Haircuts, Backpacks and Friendships

  1. I had a chance to visit two of the event sites and the work done by AEP was phenomenal! I hope AEP will stay involved with the future endeavors of Cops and Barbers!

  2. What a thrill to watch this video and see the love, caring, and joy among people. THIS is what should be in the daily news. Giving from the heart works, so thank you for recognizing the need to bring neighbors together, and the importance of a large company partnering with the much-needed police who want to take care of everyone.

    A beautiful reminder of the human spirit! Thank you, AEP and the police officers!

    1. Thank you AEP and The Barbers of Columbus and The Columbus Police Dept. we appreciate all that you do for the kids of Columbus Ohio. God Bless ❤️?

    2. You are right! Reminds when I was growing in Columbus, Ohio & was taught to love all , no matter how poor they were as God feed the poor & healed the sick no matter what. That takes a loving beautiful heart from all 50 states of our country to let our next generation be younique also! What better gift can we give our children? But love in their blessed hearts? None that this almost 71 yeas young woman can think of! And love all our law officers as they are teams of Gods EARTH ANGELS FOREVER IN MY WHOLE HEART & SOUL! AND GOD LOVES YOU ALSO! HONEST!

  3. I love what you all-AEP.. are doing for the community. It really is the reflection of your business. Thank you!

  4. Absolutely fantastic. That’s the kind of things we need to be supporting around our communities. Great job Rob and Pete. And to all the rest involved, I’m sure there’s allot of you. Thank you all for taking your time out of your busy lives and giving to these beautiful kids. Thanks to you as well AEP. I am an operator for a sub contractor for AEP and this makes me proud to say so. Keep up all the great things. Stay involved edith this one, it’s great.

  5. We own our home in a low income neighborhood area in Canton, Ohio. My wife pays kids to help her with her garden, and I will fix bicycles for neighborhood kids for free. I do think we need more people to show that the world is not a bad place and that anyone can achieve their goals if they pursue them.

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    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.

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    information for my mission.

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