December 12, 2016
Hammond Police Department officers decided to start a charity drive last year in an effort to help at-risk kids in the city. It was simple enough: volunteer officers would stand at major intersections in uniform and collect donations from motorists.
The response was overwhelming, in the generosity shown, and the communication between residents and the police during the drive was positive and reminded us that most people do respect us, and warmed our hearts, as we were encouraged with good words as the donations poured in.
The donations went to the East Side Community Council in Hammond. This organization mentors and helps at-risk teens reach personal and professional goals to give them a successful future.
In its second year, Capt. Jeff Long and Assistant Chief Andy Short gathered up another group of volunteers and hit the streets. We were using buckets to collect but coined the phrase, Pass The Hat, comparing it to the fireman’s boot drive, as police officers wear hats.
This year we well exceeded donations from 2015 and collected more than $38,000 in four days. The donations were presented to several Hammond organizations that have a direct impact on at-risk persons within our community. Benefiting from the donations is the ESCC, Haven House, and the Hammond Fraternal Order of Police.
Haven House gives sanctuary to victims of domestic abuse and has long been a partner of the Hammond Police Department.
The Hammond FOP has a food drive each year and provides meals over the holiday to families who would otherwise do without. The FOP will be providing meals for 85 families.
I want to thank the community for being so generous and making these donations possible. I would also like to thank all the officers who volunteered their time to this noble endeavor. It is this type of cooperation and outreach that bridges the gap between police officers and the communities we serve.
Again, I cannot express enough how the kind words the officers received truly remind us that we are supported and respected by the vast majority of the public we serve. We will continue to work hard in every area to win over more of that small percentage we are not yet connected with.
Chief John Doughty
Hammond Police department