JEFFERSON — Jefferson residents held their first meeting to start a new program in town that will benefit Jefferson Police officers.
“Adopt a Cop,” is now off and running in Jefferson following the group’s first official meeting last week, Organizer Wesley Jones said Tuesday.
“Our first meeting went very well,” Jones, who will head up the group now said. “Peggy Walker will be our secretary and keep up with our donations and expenditures.”
Jones said within days of the program starting up, the group had already received almost $1,000 in donations from private residents.
The program will hold occasional fundraisers throughout the year, in addition to collecting donations, which will be used to supply Jefferson police officers with the equipment they need to safely carry out their jobs.
“For instance, we had an officer during the Christmas holidays who was involved in apprehending a suspect during a high speed chase and he broke his mag lite during the arrest,” Jones said. “Jefferson police are some of the lowest paid police officers in East Texas and they provide about 75 percent of the equipment they carry on them each day out of their own pocket. So, he had to go spend $150, during the holidays, to replace his broken light.”
Jones said with the funds raised through “Adopt a Cop,” Jefferson police officers can access money for needed equipment without having to sacrifice their own salaries.
“They are sacrificing their lives out there each day to protect and serve the community,” Jones said.
The six officer Jefferson Police force has already seen a positive effect from the “Adopt a Cop” program, Jones said.
“We’ve already heard from the mayor that there is a boost of morale among the officers just from them knowing the community supports them,” he said.
Those wishing to donate to the “Adopt a Cop” program can drop off donations seven days a week at Made in the Shade, located at 118 East Henderson Street.
Jones said East Texas artist Ron Atwood has pledged to donate one of his paintings that will be raffled off as a fundraiser for “Adopt a Cop.”
“We also plan to host a crawfish boil fundraiser sometime in late February or early March, depending on the weather,” Jones said. “It will be held in the courtyard of Made in the Shade.”
Jones, himself a former law enforcement officer, said he hopes Jefferson’s “Adopt a Cop” program spreads to other communities.
“We’re hoping this will become contagious to other small towns and show them that they need to back their law enforcement,” Jones said.