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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Police union to host 'Meet a Cop & Thank a Cop' event in St. Petersburg



ST. PETERSBURG — The premise is simple.

The local police union on Saturday will host an event called “Meet a Cop & Thank a Cop,” a fundraiser for the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association at 9th Avenue N and 23rd Street.

But this month, after two officer-involved shootings left black men dead in Louisiana and Minnesota, and two ambushes left eight officers dead in Texas and Louisiana, the concept is especially relevant.

“Recent events demonstrate the importance of knowing, and thanking, our local ‘peace officers.’ ” the union said in a statement.

Several officers will attend the fundraiser along with a police dog. There will be free food and live music.

The relationship between police and the communities they serve has come under increased scrutiny in recent years after several high-profile officer-involved shootings sparked protests and rallies across the country. Both police and protesters say that officers’ relationship with citizens is fractured by poor communication, racial tension and hostility.

In Tampa Bay, stunned officers and activists have mourned the shootings this month from afar. Officers have said that community policing — getting to know residents personally, and not just professionally — is a key way to rebuild the relationship between residents and authorities.

The  “Meet a Cop & Thank a Cop” event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 7:58am]


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