After incidents of violence toward police officers nationwide over the past few weeks, Lubbock area banks, United Supermarkets and the City of Lubbock came together to host a “Lubbock Law Enforcement Appreciation Night” Wednesday. Their goal was to make sure that the men and women who work to make Lubbock safer feel appreciated.
“In this town all you gotta do is have an idea and people get behind you,” explained Barry Orr, CEO of First Bank & Trust.
“It was the Friday after the shootings in Dallas and we have several of the Lubbock Police Department and Lubbock County Sheriff’s Officers, they work security for our bank, and those guys were devastated that day,” Orr explained. “It was like they lost family and it impacted all of us, because these guys they become part of our crew.”
Orr spoke with management at other banks as well as city leaders to find a way to extend support to law enforcement in the Hub City.
“In 24 hours 16 banks said ‘we’re in’ and ‘lets do it’ and it’s been very very rewarding,” Orr said.
He explained that Blue Bell donated 8,000 cups of ice cream for the event, United Supermarkets donated 5,800 hot dogs, Coca- Cola donated 100 cases of soft drinks, not to mention individual donations from citizens and banks who participated.
Lubbock Police said that the community banks presented LPD with a check for $3,000 to go toward the Lubbock Police Department Benefit Association.
Orr said of law enforcement he’s worked with in Lubbock are extremely humble.
“They don’t want to be thanked,” he said. “But tonight we’re making them take a few hugs and handshakes and cards, it’s been precious.”
“I met two children already, two little kiddos who came up and gave me two different cards, and thanked me for my service,” said Neal Barron, Assistant Chief of Lubbock Police.
Barron was moved to see such a display of gratitude from the Lubbock community at Wednesday’s event.
“It really warmed my heart and gave me a good feeling that our community would come together and do something like this for law enforcement,” Barron said.
Officers ate at the event alongside citizens, many of whom had been personally impacted by a law enforcement officer.
“I felt proud for him and I keep on telling him when I wanna grow up, I wanna be just like him,” said 8-year-old Kaylee Rodriguez whose dad works for Lubbock Police.
She thinks events that honor the work of law enforcement officers are a great idea.
“I wanna be a police officer too, so I’m trying to learn all the police things that’s why I keep telling [Dad] questions,” she explained.
Barron said that events like this help to build up stronger connections between law enforcement and citizens– something that he thinks will help strengthen the whole community.
“An event like this is unique to us and maybe we can start a trend with what we’re doing in Lubbock,” Barron said.