ROELAND PARK, Kan. -- Public service comes in many forms. Police officers in Roeland Park see the public's needs as closely as anyone, and now, a corporate donor has stepped up to allow them to help more.
They protect, but they also serve. As police officers in Roeland Park observe people in the community who might be in need, they can now lend a hand, offering them the services of a donated gift card. Officers on the street now have access to nearly two-dozen gift cards from fast food restaurants and grocery stores.
Roeland Park Officer John DeMoss says the donated cards allow police to be seen as friends instead of foes, especially when they discover someone needs emergency help.
“We may see more than what that person in the armchair quarterback perspective, you might say,” Officer DeMoss said, adding that $500 worth of gift cards can go a long way.
“A lot of people are humble, especially those who are in dire straits. They may be too embarrassed to ask for help,” DeMoss said.
Law enforcement officers in Roeland Park are known for showing compassion. In September, Officer Zach Stamper drew community praise for giving a ride to work to a man who'd fallen on hard times.
It's that story that compelled Kathy Collins to donate the gift cards, on behalf of her employer, H & R Block. She and fellow executives wanted to thank Roeland Park's police for having a heart.
“I just remember driving to work, thinking, 'we need to do something’,” Collins said.
“I feel good giving these cards to these police officers. I want them to feel equally good when they can give them to a family, a single mom or dad, who is in need in their community.”
Police in Roeland Park specify the gift cards won't be given out liberally. Officers tell FOX 4 News the department will judge each case based on the specific recipient's needs.