Ah, Christmas in Rhode Island. Exquisitely decorated mansions in Newport. A red nose on the giant termite that sits atop a Providence exterminator's building. And a traffic cop, doing disco and salsa moves in the middle of rush-hour traffic.
Officer Tony Lepore is as much a holiday tradition as anything else in the state that issued the first jail sentence for speeding 108 years ago. Since 1984, he has entertained drivers, pedestrians and gawkers with dance moves in downtown Providence - all while directing traffic. "He is a Rhode Island landmark, more or less. He's an icon, he's like a little mini celebrity," says Michelle Peterson, of Warwick. She's an emergency medical technician and the mother of three boys who was introduced to the "dancing cop" years ago by her partner in their ambulance. This year, she took her boys to see Lepore, 65, perform and got him to pose for pictures with them. "It feels good to see him out here; it definitely brings the holiday spirit. I think people come out here just to see him and I think it brings some people to shop so they can see him."
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