It is a tough time to be a cop. The U S Justice Department just released its scathing report on the Chicago Police Department, citing decades of bias and abuse. But we must always remember that the overwhelming majority of cops – of law enforcement officers – are good, joined their department in order to protect and serve, and do the right thing!
I had the pleasure of working with many fine law enforcement officers – day in and day out for five years as a D A G; still do a bit with what I do now!
My friend, now U S Attorney for Delaware, Charlie Oberly, recently reminded us of this:
The tragic deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, followed by the sickening assassination of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge have escalated tensions between citizens and law enforcement. Now, more than ever, it is time for mutual understanding and calm discourse. The sometimes offensive rhetoric used by some demonstrators in support of the Black Lives Matter movement obscures legitimate concerns that need to be discussed and addressed. At the same time, it is important for demonstrators to appreciate the presence and pressure upon police authorities, who are charged with the responsibility of keeping order and safeguarding the very communities where such incidents have taken place.
Trust and understanding will not occur in the short term. In the meantime, I want to call attention to some of the numerous programs and outreach efforts carried out by various police agencies in Delaware. Virtually every department devotes time and energy to the citizens they serve. Without naming specific departments, the following community outreach programs are representative of the thousands of volunteer hours our law enforcement officers give to their communities.
Annual Thanksgiving and holiday distributions of food to families in need.
Days at Launch Trampoline Park, Stratosphere Trampoline Park, Jungle Jim’s River Safari Water Park and Lums Pond-Go Ape – each activity providing fun for selected children.
Sponsorship and participation in the Blue/Gold football game and Special Olympics.
Shop with a Cop Day where deserving children are provided funds to buy holiday gifts followed by refreshments for the children, their parents and participating law enforcement officers.
Adopt-a-Family programs that provide gifts to needy families.
Community Movie Nights.
Operation Back-Pack where police officers collect and donate schools supplies to children.
The “3P’s” program, standing for “positive police presence,” which includes twice-a-year walks with children at an elementary school.
Coaching sports and volunteering time at various Police Athletic Leagues.
The Hope Totes program that collects personal hygiene products for men, women and children residing in shelters.
These are but a sample of the countless programs sponsored by our law enforcement friends and do not include spontaneous daily individual acts of kindness that go unnoticed and unpublicized.