Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer
Members of the Franklin Police Department wanted to do a little more this holiday season, and decided to reach out to a select group of members within the community.
“I think we tend to associate Christmas more with children, and often times forget about the older people who are alone for the holidays,” said Franklin Police Sergeant Devin Holland. “I wanted to return the support and appreciation back to the community by spreading a little holiday cheer, and to show we care.”
After coming up with the idea to reach out to the older members of the community, Sergeant Holland pitched the idea to Police Chief David Adams who instantly approved it.
“I thought it was a really great idea,” said Chief Adams. “It gets back to the old school way of policing, with knocking on people’s doors and getting to know the community.”
Chief Adams suggested this year’s trial efforts focus on veterans in the community. Sergeant Holland and five other officers came together and were paired up with six senior members of the community.
“My intention was for officers to reach out to Franklin’s older population that live alone, don’t have family, or don’t have family living in the immediate area,” said Holland. “We wanted to show them that we are there for them, and that we care.”
Each officer participating in the event used their own money to purchase a gift for the person they were matched with and delivered to the person’s home.
Retired veteran Larry Miller was one of the recipients. He said he and his grandson saw a police car pull up in the driveway with no idea what it was about. He said Officer Justin Riles got out of the car with a gift in his hand, giving it to Miller as a token of appreciation, thanking him for his service. Miller was so taken aback by the gesture, he penned a thank you letter to the department, Chief Adams said.
“It wasn’t just about the gifting, but also visiting with them to show them they are not forgotten or alone,” said Holland.
Holland said that the officers sat with the individuals selected and just spent time with them. Talked to them about their life, their homes, their concerns, and wanted to let them know that if they need anything, even outside of the parameters of policing, those officers are there for them.
Chief Adams says this is just the beginning of the program. He wants to see the program grow and reach more shut-ins in the community. He also hopes that the community will help support the program in the coming years. Sgt. Holland has the same plans for the program.
“I hope in the future holiday seasons to come we can have more officers participate so that more senior citizens will be reached,” said Holland. “Realistically, we should do more throughout the year for Franklin’s older citizens. I think they will very much appreciate the attention, and feeling of security knowing we are there for them.”