Inside a stuffy, hot warehouse in east Plano, police officers, retired officers, volunteers and civilian employees quickly load up furniture onto a pickup. They add toys and canned food before a caravan drives to a small apartment nearby.
The group of first responders is quietly offering a lifeline to a single, working mother who earned enough to get her own apartment but was sleeping on the floor with her young son.
“One of the things we are called upon to do is to serve this community,” said Officer David Tilley. “There’s really no definition that says what type of service we provide.”
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Officer Tilley says police first came into contact with the woman two years ago, when she was sexually assaulted.
“She’s one of those people who is very humble and doesn’t want to ask for help. She tries to do it on her own,” said Plano Police Victim Advocate Jessica Serrano. “I know she wants to make it work really hard on her own but sometimes we all need a hand.”
An officer kept in touch with the survivor. When he learned she and her son lived in the apartment with no furniture, he reached out to a network of fellow officers, retirees, volunteers and civilian department employees. Under the Christmas Cops program, the group gathered gently used chairs, bedroom sets and a sofa. They delivered the furniture along with food and toys Thursday afternoon.
“She was so excited, she said I don’t even know what I’m going to tell my son that Christmas came early,” said Serrano.
“It’s given her little boy something that when he comes home from school today he’s not going to have to worry about a place to sit, a place to sleep, food on the table,” said Officer Tilley. “It’s going to provide them that new start.”
Officer Tilley says policing has to include efforts like the one executed on Thursday. He says officers often meet the people who are falling through the cracks and can mobilize people to help.
“It’s our job to make sure that all of our citizens are taken care of and sometimes it’s beyond making a phone call or 911,” said Officer Tilley. “It’s just officers stepping forward when they see a need.”