The Weatherford Police Department is joining forces with the community to help those in need by providing food, paper products and cleaning supplies, among other needed items during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Weatherford Police Department recently started its Operation Strong Community initiative where the department is taking donations and giving back to those who are most vulnerable.
“The Weatherford and Parker County community has always been exceptional when it comes to helping others and the police department has benefitted so much from the generosity of our community. In fact, that’s really how this idea came about. One of our community members was asking if our members needed anything like food or toilet paper. I was explaining that we were in good shape and as I was saying that, I knew there would be a lot of people and families in our community that were going to need help,” Weatherford Police Chief Lance Arnold said. “We have great service organizations in our area, but they were working hard to protect their staff and volunteers like everyone else. Staff from many of the organizations were working remotely or during limited hours. By that time, we had closed our lobby to the public to further protect our staff. Because the daily activities that normally occur in our lobby were on hold, it became the ideal place to accept donations and for people to pick up items they needed.”
Arnold said that although they have opened their lobby for donations, they are still practicing safety.
“Our staff is all behind glass and we usually only have one person or family in the lobby at a time,” Arnold said. “Not to mention there is an element of privacy in that people in need can come here and no one from the public is going to be around.”
The WPD and Weatherford Fire Department have been providing information to the public about proper hygiene and sanitation during the COVID-19 situation. The fire department recently sanitized first responder vehicles to ensure a clean work environment.
“Both PD and fire are providing essential services to assist with sanitation efforts,” Weatherford’s Director of Communications and Marketing Blake Rexroat said. “This includes helping our community with educational tools on property hygiene as recommended by the CDC and internal procedures for cleaning vital public safety vehicles.”
WPD is accepting food, paper products, cleaning supplies and personal necessities, and will soon be able to start accepting perishable foods after a refrigerator was donated to the department by Buddy’s Appliance Sales and Service.
“More people have come by in need of food more than anything else. Last Friday, a local business, Kangaroo Towing, brought in 15 pounds of ground beef and we just had to put it in our employee freezer in the breakroom,” Arnold said. “[Monday] morning, one of our staff members came up with the idea of asking Buddy’s Appliance if they could loan us a refrigerator and they agreed without hesitation. Once that is delivered, we will have both perishable and non-perishable items in the lobby for those in need.”
WPD will also deliver items to residents within the city limits that cannot physically come to the department.
“We have delivered supplies and we have picked up donations. When we receive a request to pick up or drop off supplies, we make contact by phone with the resident. We come up with a plan to do the pick up or drop off in a way that keeps our officers and our residents safe from being in close proximity to each other like leaving the items on the front porch,” Arnold said. “Too many of the vulnerable members of our community who are at higher risk and who may not have a support network, the department delivering needed supplies can be a lifesaver. We have been contacted by family members who live out of state or directly by those in need.”
High demand at grocery stores can leave people without the necessities and has also caused stores to create limited hours for restocking purposes. Some grocery stores have also changed their hours to allow for those at high risk, the elderly and immunocompromised, to do their shopping without the crowds.
“All of our members do this job because they want to serve and help others. Many of them see this as an opportunity to serve in a different way during a time unlike most have ever seen,” Arnold said. “Our members believe in our mission to enrich our community and they believe in helping others in any capacity that we can. Our department and our members have always been so blessed to be a part of this community and this community shows their love for us daily. This is just one way in which we can show our appreciation to them.”
The lobby of WPD is open 24/7 and those who like to request delivery, or have questions, can contact the WPD’s non-emergency number at 817-598-4300.