Rock garden spreads positivity at the police station

By Angie Hilsman | Aug 27, 2017
Courtesy of: Dartmouth Police/ Facebook Students present the rock garden to the Dartmouth Police on August 17.

The Dartmouth Police Department has a colorful addition to its headquarters — a collection of hand-painted rocks reading "be happy and dance" and "smile big."

It's hard not to take that advice when the recently installed rock garden is the work of Potter Elementary third graders, organized by Teacher Lorrie Murphy.

Murphy — taking cue from the Kindness Rocks Project, which encourages participants to both create rocks with inspirational and positive messages, and share such reminders — brought the garden to the police station after ending the 2016-2017 school year with the art project.

"It has reached all over the world, and I'm proud that we've been able to bring it to Dartmouth! It's just a really cool, simple idea," said Murphy. "There's a lot of hate going on. People just need this hope."

The project encourages visitors to take a rock, share a rock, and/or add a rock to the gardens. Murphy has already put up rock gardens with students at Potter Elementary, with her own children around their residential mailbox, and has even dropped some along the beaches while on a Disney cruise, she said. She plans to kickoff the school year with the project.

"Listening to these young kids come up with inspirational quotes on their own... their innocence and how they view the world is really cool," she said.

Murphy brought the project to the police station knowing it'd get more visibility there, she said. Detective Kyle Costa said the department is 100-percent behind the idea, and even plans to transplant the rocks to the new station when it opens in 2019.

"A few members of the department have already picked up some of the stones and keep them in their offices," said Costa. "It's really kind of a cool way to reach out. Kindness can come in different forms."

Murphy, along with some of her students, presented the gift to the police department on August 17. Other messages include "be kind... always," "you are brave," and "you are my sunshine."

Find more information about the project at, or visit the police department at 249 Russells Mills Road.

Visitors are encouraged to both leave inspirational rocks and take some to share. (Photo by: Dartmouth Police/ Facebook)
The finished rock garden. (Photo by: Dartmouth Police/ Facebook)
Potter Elementary teacher Lorrie Murphy presents the rock garden with her class. (Photo by: Dartmouth Police/ Facebook)
Messages include "you are my sunshine," and "you got this." (Photo by: Dartmouth Police/ Facebook)
Murphy has a new sign for the police station's rock garden. (Courtesy of: Lorrie Murphy)
Detective Kyle Costa poses with Sammie Murphy, 7, who made a Kindness Rock specifically for him. (Courtesy of: Lorrie Murphy)
Sammie Murphy, 7, made a Kindness Rock specifically for Detective Kyle Costa. (Courtesy of: Lorrie Murphy)
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