Sure, you break a law and you’ll soon find out what it is that cops do best. But, the men and women who patrol your streets do more than arrest bad guys. For starters (and this list is FAR from being complete):
1. Cops Helping Kids – police officers host an annual fishing tournament to raise money for the Garth House, a children’s advocacy center that provides a safe have for children who’ve been subjected to severe physical or mental abuse.
2. Cops For Kids With Cancer – officers from several departments don ice skates for a tournament and raffle to help kids suffering from cancer.
3. Shop With a Cop – Local cops raise money to buy Christmas presents for kids who otherwise wouldn’t receive gifts. The officers actually take the kids shopping to pick out the items they’d most enjoy.
4. Cops Helping Unique Kids (C.H.U.K.) – Officers host a day of fun and games followed by a 5K run. Proceeds benefit children with cerebral palsy.
5. Philadelphia Police Athletic League Cop Helping Kids – The PPAL supervises 26 kid centers across the city. Each of the centers is directly supervised by an officer (on their own time). Programs feature sports, cultural, and educational opportunities. 100’s of volunteers make this a unique and wonderful experience for the youth of Philadelphia.
6. Cops Helping Kids Succeed – The National Police Athletic League is recognized as the largest juvenile crime prevention program in the nation. PAL provides safe, healthy alternatives for children from high risk neighborhoods.
7. Vouchers – Cops in Kitsap, Washington pass out vouchers to families with kids in need. The vouchers are redeemable at local businesses for items such as clothes, food and school supplies.
8. PAL NYC – is New York City’s largest independent youth development not-for-profit organization that operates head start/day care, after-school, evening teen, summer day camp, youth employment, truancy prevention, juvenile justice and re-entry, city-wide sports, play streets and part-time centers, food service, and adventure learning programs for pre-school kids, children and adolescents ages 3 to 19. It’s in its 95th year of service (excerpt from the PAL NYC site).
9. Badges For Baseball – Cal Ripkin, Sr. and the Justice Department partnered to form this organization that pairs police and kids together by playing softball and baseball, building a bond between the youth and the officers.
10. Cops Helping Kids Block Party – Sponsored by police, this all day block party features food, music, and fun. Proceeds benefit children in need.
11. California Police Youth Charities – Focusing on “at risk” kids between the ages of 6 and 18 years of age, the CPYU offers fun activities run by positive role models (uniformed police officers and professional athletes from various California pro teams). The CPYU stresses education and respect for others.
12. Law Enforcement Torch Run – the Torch Run is a running event in which officers and athletes carry the Flame of Hope to the Opening Ceremony of local Special Olympics competitions. In 2011, the Torch Run raised more than $42 million for the Special Olympics.
More than 85,000 police officers participate in the Torch Run.
* These twelve causes I’ve listed are a mere drop in the bucket to the multitude of good deeds performed by law enforcement officers all across the country, on their own time, without pay. And I haven’t mentioned all the instances where officers performed CPR on strangers, risked their lives to pull victims from burning buildings and cars, step in the way of danger to save others, rush into gunfire while others are running away, and listen to verbal abuse from people who simply just don’t get it.
* Top photo is of Capt. Ted Carter, commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), handing off the Special Olympics Torch to Virginia State Police Sgt. Michelle Cotton.