DEMOPOLIS, Ala. (WTOK) - As debates continue nationwide about how to best bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, one West Alabama police officer has taken matters into her own hands literally.
To many, an ordinary day on the job for Officer Serena Green in Demopolis may not seem ordinary. About a month and a half ago, Officer Green, who's originally from neighboring Sumter County, had an idea on how she could get to know more people within the community. That's when she used her own money to buy and hand out free popsicles to children, the elderly and others throughout Demopolis.
"I got out of my vehicle and said, 'Come get a popsicle, and they were like, 'Huh?', and I'm like, 'Yeah, I've got popsicles,' and they ran to my car then," says Green.
Since then she says children in particular have continued running to her car.
"They love it," says Green. "I pull up in the neighborhood and they run out to my police car. They know my car."
"Basically, she's fighting crime," says Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese. "She's doing a great thing by helping us bridge the gap with the community and law enforcement."
"This is the first time I've ever seen it since I've been in Demopolis. There are friendly police here," is what one Demopolis mom told Newscenter 11.
That act of kindness and concern is spreading throughout the community.
"People are donating left and right; I wasn't expecting it," says Officer Green.
"I came up in an era when your mom would tell you if you need help find a police officer," says Chief Reese, "and we kind of got away from that where parents will tell you if you see a police officer he'll get you, and that child grows up with fear thinking that he might get me one day, and we want to get that fear away to let them know that we're there for them. We want to help them."
In more ways than one, helping the community is exactly what Officer Green says she plans to continue to do. Instead of popsicles, in the fall Officer Green hopes to hand out school supplies to children.