They call it “Coffee with the Cops,” but an event at a south-side McDonald’s restaurant Saturday was so much more.
As the law enforcement community prepares to bury Officer Miguel Moreno, who was fatally wounded on Thursday, the free fair offered healing for police and those they protect and serve.
While kids played games and festive music filled the air, everyone agreed that the carnival atmosphere was powerful medicine for a community stricken with sadness and fear this week.
Police officers and Explorer Scouts offered free services like vehicle etching, but mostly the day was about peace of mind.
Hunter and Tyler Jones brought their dad, Matt.
“We're here to support the people that support us and take care of the people that risk their lives for us,” Jones said. "They know that these guys risk their butts to save ours and they need to understand that, and they appreciate the sacrifices that are made for us."
"That's a good thing to do," Young Hunter chimed in.
Tinker Mass Schultz, with Citizens on Patrol, said that this kind of response to tragedy is vitally important.
“This is a heartfelt community. We back these guys. They are our backbone and we'd like to think that we have their back as much as they have ours,” Schultz said.
"With all the goings on nowadays, especially recently here in town, this is what it's for, to bring the community together," said William Standifer, with McDonald’s, who added that he hopes to see more of these gatherings. “It's togetherness and we can't have enough of that. I want to see more of these and I think we are going to see more of these around.”
Police Explorer Scout Mack Reeves volunteered with the vehicle etching effort. He said that the loss of Officer Moreno strengthens his resolve for law enforcement.
“It does give you a pause but it makes you want to do this more because you want to fight to keep these people off the street. You don't want these kind of people on the street that do horrible crimes like this,” Reeves said.
Motorcycle Officer Dominic Garcia, his badge covered in black, said everyone grows stronger during times like these.
“We all come together and it just makes us even stronger,” he said. “So on a day like this, it's very important. They show us how grateful they are for what we do and we also show them we're still here. We're still strong and we're still here to serve.”
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