BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Police are teaming up with a local block club to help people still dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. They partnered with several groups for a community food drive in hopes of improving the relationship between people and police.
A line of cars wrapped around the Buffalo Police Department C-District Headquarters on East Ferry early Saturday. With a little music and lots of bags, officers partnered with the Winslow Block Club and other groups to hand out free food.
“Every last officer at this district came out of their own personal pocket and donated but we do this all the time. It’s just not today,” said Chief Alphonso Wright.
It wasn’t just food people could get their hands on, officers handed out hand sanitizer and the Police Athletic League passed out free bike helmets.
Officer Andrea Anderson says this giveaway was planned months ago to help people impacted by the pandemic. She says it was postponed due to recent events, but they were determined to help.
“We knew the community was hurting, we knew people were getting laid off, we knew people were having trouble making ends meet and we wanted to know how could we as officers help as officers and as people because before we were an officer, we were people,” said Officer Andrea Anderson.
“We need to humanize the badge and let them know that we care just as much about the community as they do. This was the perfect opportunity for us to give back and to try to bridge that gap with the community to show them that we’re here to help and we’re here to serve them,” said Lieutenant Bradford Pitts.
Lieutenant Bradford Pitts says now more than ever, officers must go back to the basics.
“Walking the beat. Interacting with the community, store owners, getting to know people and them getting to us know us more than just an officer,” said Lt. Pitts.
Lieutenant Tommy Champion says seeing the interaction between people and police Saturday gives him hope.
“It’s reassuring to be quite honest. There’s no mistake that these are trying times for everyone and these are growing pains that we’re all having, but hopefully the result is that we come together as a community and it reestablishes our relationship with them and reaffirms all the good things we already know about the City of Buffalo,” Lt. Tommy Champion.