As Lexington continues to expand and grow and the demand for services steadily increases, the leadership of the Town of Lexington recognized the need to develop more effective public/private partnerships and alternative funding streams. This is especially true in the light of budget deficits at the Federal and State levels that effectively reduce the amount of grant and other flow-through resources previously available through these entities. The Police Department and members of Town Council also recognized that there was a need to strengthen the relationship between the Police Department and business and civic communities. The result of these efforts is the Adopt-a-Cop program.
The Adopt-a-Cop program is an innovative approach to community resource development because it is targeted at specific needs identified by personnel at all levels of the Police Department. It can provide funding to pilot new programs and assess their effectiveness prior to integration into long-term budgets. The program also gives contributors the opportunity to provide tax deductible individualized support of their local police department, selecting specific programs or materials to support in accordance with an individual's or corporate giving philosophy. At the same time, individuals and community groups have the opportunity to build a relationship with the person behind the badge by working directly with the individual officer or officers who will benefit from a contribution and see how a contribution really works within the community. Contributions to the Adopt-a-Cop program are meant to supplement, not replace tax dollars in promoting quality criminal justice programming in the Town of Lexington. This support can stretch tax dollars further by providing an alternative source of local match funding often required for receipt of governmental and foundation grant dollars, thus reducing the burden on taxpayers. Examples of materials and events that can be supported by the Adopt-a-Cop program are provision of updated individual body armor (bulletproof vests); purchase of a school resource officer emergency kit; police patrol cruiser replacement (many of which have nearly 100,000 miles); Ident-a-Kid child identification program to protect children and their parents in case of child abduction; collecting new stuffed animals to provide comfort for the victims of crime; sponsoring of special events such as car safety seat checks, community fairs, and school presentations; purchasing forensic laboratory equipment; heart defibrillators for emergency first responders; and providing cost reimbursement for police uniform dry cleaning. This list is updated frequently as needs change and as sponsors are brought on board.
One of the examples of successful Adopt-a-Cop partnerships is Wal-Mart's sponsorship of the child Ident-a-Kid program through their local Supercenter. Wal-Mart staff, along with local police officers provided information kits to approximately 200 children and their parents to be used in case of child abduction. They provided a kit for each child, took the child's photograph, made note of height, weight, eye and hair color, fingerprints and other information that is critical in the swift return of an abducted child. This information was provided to the child's parent/guardian who was encouraged to keep this information in a safe place. This led to other Ident-a-Kid events held at local schools in order to reach a broader audience. The initial program was so successful that Wal-Mart recently opted to fund this program for a second year and continues to work in a variety of ways with the Adopt-a-Cop program and other town programs throughout the year.
In 2004 the Adopt-a-Cop program was recently selected by the South Carolina Municipal Association as its South Carolina Public Safety Program of the Year. In the same year, the Lexington Police Department's Adopt-a-Cop program was also recognized by the SC Community Development Association with an Award of Excellence.
We need your help to continue this program. You can contribute by providing your tax free donations to the Lexington Police Department. For more information, please contact Chief Terrence Green at (803) 359-6260 or Ebony Bowers, K.E.Y.S. Site Coordinator at 358-1561.