AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The issue of police brutality has prompted local law enforcement to visit their beats to not only fight crime but also to make sure kids aren’t afraid of police officers.
Two Richmond County Sheriff’s Office deputies are taking the time to reach out to our city’s youth. They rented out an ice cream truck, drove to different neighborhoods in Augusta, and handed out ice cream to tell those kids all cops aren’t bad.
“It was hot outside, and I said, let’s go get an ice cream truck,” said Deputy Alfonzo Forrest. “I got in touch with the owner of the place; we bought an ice truck and went to certain neighborhoods to hand out ice cream.”
Deputies Forrest and Joshua Freeman spent their weekend handing out the treats to kids in low-income areas. Both deputies say they are aware that kids are seeing the negativity surrounding law enforcement, and so the idea was spread love in the community.
“An officer’s job is to gain voluntary compliance,” explained Deputy Freeman. “We’re not out here to be your enemy; we love you, and we will lay down our lives for you.”
That message is something the co-owner of Ice Cream Island says he wanted to stand behind.
“I even offered half for whatever it cost,” said Miguel Cruz. “I said 50 percent would come from us, and the other half will come from him.”
This isn’t the first time that Richmond County deputies have been in the spotlight for their community service acts. Local photographer Sean Morgan has been capturing each moment during the protests and marches.
“It is essential that we show these cops are good people,” said Morgan. “These are good men and women; we can’t use a broad brush to categorize everybody. You can’t say all police are bad or these people thugs; you can’t do that.”
Deputy Forrest says being in the community is one way to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community. He’s also urging parents to talk to their children about what’s going on.
“We want to make sure they sit those kids down because they see that negative stuff,” explained Deputy Forrest. “However, we want to put that positive light in there.
Both deputies tell me they are planning to go to areas like South Augusta and Hephzibah with ice cream to continue spreading the message.