LAURINBURG — Laurinburg Police Department is looking for someone caught in the act — of kindness.
An unidentified woman entered the police station Monday morning and said she had presents for the department. When an officer went outside to help, he returned with more than 40 gift bags, but the good Samaritan did not.
“We’re so thankful and we just want to tell her, whoever you are, please make contact back with us,” Police Chief Darwin “Duke” Williams said. “We’re thankful, we’re grateful and we really do appreciate it.”
The bright blue gift bags— one for every staff member on each shift — included snacks and a gift card for pizza.
Williams said the gesture is especially meaningful following the shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas earlier this month and on Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“In this day and age and this time you have all these things going on in the law enforcement community across this country, it makes us feel good here to know that the citizens of Scotland County and Laurinburg truly appreciate the job that we do,” he said. “We don’t look for them. We don’t do this job for those types of rewards but it’s always a feel good thing to have people come up to you and tell you they appreciate you.”
He added that he and his fellow Laurinburg officers are saddened by the recent violence against law enforcement and pray for the families of the officers. But that doesn’t change how law enforcement does its jobs. Officers still report to work at 7:30 a.m. to protect the residents of Laurinburg, according to Williams.
“We’re human. We come to work courageous everyday. We truly love serving the citizens of Laurinburg. There’s no time for fear, there’s no time to retreat. All of our energy needs to be about moving forward, healing,”said Williams. “We’ve been knocked down, but we’re getting up. We’re going to get back up and we’re going to be just as courageous as ever.”
Assistant Chief Charles Sessoms agreed.
“It doesn’t change my mind about coming to work because it’s always more good than evil. Good always wins in the end. There’s more good people than bad people on anything you do. You’re here for the good people and they are appreciated,” said Sessoms.
He said in the past few weeks, residents have approached officers and thanked them for being public servants. Some residents have also picked up a meal check as a way to say thanks.
Even so, Williams said there is still work to be done to repair the riff between some communities and police.
“When did we become a nation where we judge us all off one encounter. How did we get to this? But the most important question is how did we get out of it,” said Williams. “Now is the time. No need to postpone it. Fix it, fix it now.”
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 910-506-3171.