Bird is the Word on the Streets…and Cops are Helping Deliver

Bird is the Word on the Streets…and Cops are Helping Deliver

By Stephen Owsinski

No, not the jail birds making fools of themselves, getting arrested, delivered to county jail. (That is a runner-up, though.) We are talking about yet another selfless deed among the myriad feats cops perform daily.

With the Thanksgiving holiday nearing and the traditional turkey dinner fixings on the minds of many, some folks feeling the shockwave of the COVID pandemic and hit extra-hard economically may be ill-fashioned to go out and purchase Thanksgiving Day accompaniments to satiate bellies and share gratitude while COVID restrictions loom and deflate some of the traditions ordinarily ripe with joy and exuberance.

Unsurprising, the web is proliferated with a seemingly endless supply of law enforcement agencies whose hordes of cops are working independently or in tandem with community organizations to assure those without have a dignified dinner on turkey day.

Of the many posts I observed, all maintained pandemic-related safeguards by coordinating, publicizing and staffing drive-thru methods whereby LEOS load up family automobiles with all the ingredients necessary to prepare and partake in a holiday banquet.

(Photo courtesy of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.)

Days ago, my local sheriff’s office shared their convictions for meeting needs, especially heightened around the holiday season, and conducted a drive-thru at area schools, handing out gobs of boxed gobblers and sides to citizens.

(Photo courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.)

In addition to the annual Great American Teach In where deputies met with children and talked about life as a LEO, they also paired with the Piecemakers Quilt Guild which donated goodies for youngsters, distributed by law enforcement deputies and skilled quilters, sort of a prelude gifting toward Christmas, stockings and all. As the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) site stated, “Each stocking is filled with goodies for #HillsboroughCounty children. This is their fifth year doing this for the kids.”

(Photo courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.)

Definitely a joy to be a giver!

And given the multitude of police partnering with community organizations, resource entities, and philanthropic foundations, the Tampa Police Department paired up with Colorado Rockies baseball player Mychal Givens (who has a home in a Tampa suburb and grew up in South Tampa). Together, Tampa cops and Mr. Givens walked the city districts and fulfilled the wishes of folks hard-hit and without means to populate a table with turkey and fixings—compliments of the “Givens Back Foundation” which the professional baseball player started and operates with his wife and some friends. Thanks to dynamic duos like this, generous offerings for people enduring COVID constraints can breathe easier and top-off tummies.

From what I understand, Mr. Givens routinely partners with the Tampa police to help meet needs of the community, making it an annual practice to hand-deliver the goods along with police officers. As mentioned several times among recent articles: Cops are excellent cultivators of resources with whom they partner to fulfill humanistic principles.

(Photo courtesy of the Tampa Police Department.)

Speaking of partnerships, the traditional source we know as the Salvation Army continues to meet needs, teaming with sworn servants with the New Mexico State Police: “State Police officers from District IV helped the Salvation Army distribute and load food for families in need in the Las Cruces/D4 area. Now more than ever, acts of kindness go a long way.” Cheers! to that.

Always thinking out of the box and with ultra-consideration for our infirm/disabled brothers and sisters of all ages, cops personally deliver! The Town of Dumfries Police Department in Virginia (the state now notorious for devaluing police personnel by legislating significant anti-police laws), took to the streets and routed bags full of Thanksgiving elements for shut-ins and elderly citizens hard-pressed to get to a drive-thru or other route of delivery. Eat your heart out, Amazon…cops get it done in prime time too!

(Photo courtesy of the Town of Dumfries Police Department.)

We can definitely say that Dumfries delivers.

According to The Ledger in Polk County, Florida, “Many of Polk’s charities say they are witnessing a growing food insecurity on the eve of the holiday season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Two different organizations will be handing out hundreds of free turkeys in Polk County […] to help meet the need and ensure families can still enjoy the traditional meal this year.” And how is such a thoughtful and generous intent going to be accomplished, and by whom?

Polk Sheriff’s Charities, a nonprofit organization associated with Polk County Sheriff’s Office, will give away up to 1,300 frozen birds between three locations.”

If the words “Polk County Sheriff” ring a bell, it is because of the agency’s noted leader, Sheriff Grady Judd, whose no nonsense philosophies and approach to serving the law-abiding citizens and not coddling criminal elements is a brand many Americans long for nowadays. For example, when some of his deputies involved in a manhunt for a cop killer and engaged the suspect in a big barrage of bullets, a news reporter asked Sheriff Judd why his deputies shot in excess (68 hits out of a collective 110 expended bullets). Sheriff Judd’s response, “I suspect the only reason 110 rounds was all that was fired was that’s all the ammunition they had. We were not going to take any chances of him shooting back.”

Of his many colorful press conferences, that particular one stemmed from Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy Vernon Matthew Williams, 39, and his K-9 partner “Diogi” being murdered by a cold-blooded monster with zero care for humanity and/or surrendering to cops.

I attended the funeral of Deputy Williams and K-9 Diogi; most moving scene, with reflections of bright red uniforms of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police among thousands of other law enforcement attire staring at the stark reality of police work.

With utter grace, Sheriff Judd harbors such a tragedy while also being mindful of citizens taxed by the times exacerbated by a pandemic.

Yep, cops are out there, doing all they can. And they fully know how difficult it has been in 2020, mindful of folks who may be saddled with despair inflicted by a deadly virus which altered the planet in unimaginable ways. With that, it seems “This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have” —unknown author.

Thankfully, we have selfless cops giving of their time, from their own pockets, as well as partners who embrace community needs and see to it that they are filled. As one of my police academy instructors (a colonel with the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office) often iterated throughout training, “If you see a need, fill that need.” That was a derivative from community relations discussions; it is so applicable today, and LEOs are positioned to deliver despite all the calls to whittle them down to bare bone (or absolutely abolished).

As Sheriff Judd stated in a press conference, “We know that there are families out there who are struggling financially, and we want to do our small part to help out during the holidays.” The Shakopee Police Department made it a practice for their beat cops to hand out $50. gift cards so folks can set the table accordingly: “The Shakopee Crime Prevention Inc. organization graciously donated twenty $50 Cub gift cards for our officers to hand out in the community when they see a need. It’s been a difficult year for many, and we hope that these gift cards will brighten some Shakopee families’ Thanksgiving by helping them put a special holiday meal on the table.”

Thanks to the handiwork of hands raised to serve, to protect…and to meet needs.

One more thing…our brothers/sisters with the Fort Collins Police Services reiterate the following great advice: “If you’re drinking with family (or because of them), please designate a driver before the party starts.” Yeah, we got jokes too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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