Anonymous donors send cases of bottled water to Gardner police amid summer heatwave

GARDNER, Kan. -- They're powerful words, yet not everybody says "thank you."

Police in one Johnson County city heard them loud and clear after anonymous donors delivered bottles of water to their headquarters, keeping the cops cool as summertime weather continues to fry.

The back porch at the Gardner Police Department is more than a shady spot. For the past three weeks, it`s been a drop off spot for community kindness.

Sgt. Steve Benz said officers have found cases of bottled water on the building's back stoop, donated mostly from anonymous people.

"This will be sitting on the steps out back. We brought them in here," Benz told FOX4, while gesturing to a 12-pack of bottled water.

Benz said the third such visit occurred Friday morning when a woman stopped by with bottles of water and Gatorade and quickly left without giving her name. Police don't believe she's the same person that made previous deliveries.

The police station refrigerator is now tightly packed with ice cold bottles of refreshing kindness.

"A couple shift officers had just gone on duty. They'd gone out into the field and come back, and there were a couple of flats of water on the back steps," Benz said.

Police officers are known for working long shifts in the heat, often while wearing heavy Kevlar protective vests, some of which can weigh more than 20 pounds. Officers with the Gardner Police Department said the generous expression of gratitude is delicious.

"I think people have come to appreciate what we provide maybe more so in the past. I don't know if its because of officers who have died in the line of duty that have brought it to the forefront," Benz said Friday.

Gardner Police officers often hold Coffee with the Cops sessions at Groundhouse Coffee on Elm Street, where conversation is lively and cold drinks are always on the menu. Pastor Joey Lang, who has led nearby Grace Baptist Church for eight years, is a regular customer and said Gardner citizens love their local officers.

"People are friendly here. We like to say thank you," Lang said.

"They see the police around town. They see them in the places we're eating. They see them in the places we're drinking coffee," he added.

Ironically, Lang said his Sunday morning sermon will be rooted in gratitude, a message that reflects the kindness anonymous benefactors are showing their local law enforcement officers.

"It makes us feel like we're all on the same team -- like we're all one community," Lang said.

The kindness isn`t taken for granted by these law enforcement officers. They`re working outside no matter the weather and, as Benz said, it reminds police that the public cares.

The city of Gardner is about to thank its police department with a new justice center, where the city's municipal court will also be housed. Police say they're hopeful to move in within the next year. The new building will sit on the property at 167th and Moonlight.