Have you heard about the Adopt a Cop program in Greenville County? As I was mindlessly perusing Instagram one night I came across a photo of a Greenville County police officer holding a basket of goodies, smiling from ear-to-ear. The post thanked the community for the gifts for the police officer as part of their Adopt-A-Cop program.
There are several police families in my neighborhood so this sparked an interest and I definitely wanted to learn more. I contacted the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), who told me all about the program and what to do. A day later, I signed on my family to adopt our own cop and I’m thrilled to be able to write about this awesome program.
Adopt-A-Cop started in 2017 of the GCSO when someone approached the Sheriff with the idea. There are similar programs elsewhere and the GSCO worked with a contact in North Carolina to implement ideas specific to the goals of this particular program.
“We want to develop a relationship between the community and law enforcement that spreads beyond the deputies answering calls for service,” said Terri Long, who works in the Sheriff’s Office.
Police face difficult circumstances every day that can wear on them. There has been a barrage of negative publicity over the past few years. They see horrible things that we could never dream of.
The program is meant to show Greenville’s sworn personnel that the community supports them and appreciates them.
And what’s been the response from the community? Overwhelming interest and support.
“The people of Greenville County have shown these men and women how much they appreciate and support them,” said Long. “There are businesses, classrooms, individuals, families, churches, and subdivisions etc. adopting deputies! We actually have folks waiting to adopt. We have deputies graduating from the Academy and are in Training with us now. Once their training is complete, they will be eligible to be adopted.”
What’s Involved When You Adopt-A-Cop
The GSCO stresses that no monetary contributions are necessary. A simple card or children’s drawing or note of appreciation is always well-received. Think about whenever someone says they appreciate you or goes beyond that and writes a note – that makes me feel good! It really doesn’t take much to say ‘thank you’ and that’s part of what makes this program so awesome.
My six-year-old wrote an adorable card to our adopted cop. She was studying community responders earlier this year and we talk about what police do so her note was really sweet because it was all her own words.
If you’d like to buy a couple goodies for your cop, the Sheriff’s Office offers some suggestions: gel pens, Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer, prepackaged snacks. We ended up getting the gel pens, a bunch of snacks, Gatorade, and a small gift card to a coffee place.
It’s a great opportunity to teach kids about the roles that police play in the community and about being kind to others and saying thank you. As a parent, I really try to take advantage of opportunities to teach kindness and compassion.
Meeting Your Cop?
When you sign up to adopt a cop, the GSCO will give you a number, which identifies your cop. Their identity is hidden for many reasons but if they choose, they can contact their adoptive family.
The Sheriff’s Office told me this beautiful story:
“One family has daughters and their deputy is a female so they have met and visited and she’s an encouragement to the daughters about being able to do anything they want to achieve.”
A simple act of kindness can really go a long way.
“I have seen some of these men and women tear up looking at a card or gift from an adopter,” said Long. “They have said ‘these people don’t even know me and are praying for me and wanted me to have this card or gift.’ I know it’s surprising to some of them at the outpouring of support they are receiving from folks they don’t even know.”
For my family, I don’t feel like we need to meet our adopted cop, although it would be really neat. I just want him/her to know they are appreciated and loved. And I hope that our small tokens of appreciation make them smile.
The GSCO to adopt your cop for a year but they understand that life gets busy. They promote the program on their Facebook and Instagram pages as well, which can serve as good reminders and give you some ideas of what others are doing for their adopted cops.
New 2022 Policies
You can drop off your packages or cards at the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office’ Central Annex Office located at 1200 Pendleton Street, Greenville. Their hours are 8:30 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday. Be sure to put your Adopt A Cop identification number on the outside of the package, card, or letter. You can mail things to the same address.
If you choose to bring a package, they are asking families to limit the size due to storage. Letters, cards, and gift cards are the preferred things to deliver at this point since they are easier to distribute and the deputies love that kind of thing!
Lastly, because of COVID, personal interaction is limited. Mailing cards and letter is preferred.
If you’ve read this far, you probably want to sign up, right?
Would your family like to adopt a cop?