Adopt A CopAs the wife of a Charlotte Police officer, Leslie Rehard knows full well the sacrifice law enforcement officers and their families make every day. So it had become increasingly more difficult for her to ignore the growing anti-law enforcement sentiment nationally, and in some cases even locally.
“I get so tired of reading stuff online that speaks so negatively toward police officers,” she said. “It does get a little irritating to read and it’s hard not to comment back.”
Instead of using her keyboard to argue with the often faceless posts she’s found on social media, she enlisted the help of friend Kelley Antcliff, also the wife of a Charlotte Police Officer, to create a positive message for local law enforcement officers.
“We thought with all the negativity that officers get, it might be nice to have some positivity for them,” she said.  “They don’t get a lot of people stopping them on the street and thanking them for their service.”
The two created the closed Facebook group Adopt-A-Cop Eaton County on Oct. 1 in hopes of enlisting the assistance of Facebook friends to help show support for local law enforcement officers. Their plan was to generate enough support to provide each Charlotte Police Department member with a small token of appreciation. Volunteers would each adopt a police officer, pledging to provide them with a small token of appreciation.
Within just two hours of making their group live, community members had stepped forward to account for each of the 18 members of the Charlotte Police Department.
“We were overwhelmed, we didn’t think it would go that fast,” Rehard said. “We thought it might take a couple days to cover the Charlotte Police Department because we made it a closed group.”
Because of the overwhelming response, however, they decided to keep going. By Oct. 3, they had enough community support to provide gifts for all 89 deputies and detectives in the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office.
By Nov. 1, Rehard and Antcliff were able to surprise officers by delivering gift bags and gift baskets.
“The neat thing for us was to see all of the different ideas people came up with,” Rehard said. “A lot people included something homemade or ordered something that was specially made. It was kind of exciting to see how much thought and effort went into each gift.”
Rehard and Antcliff also were able to enjoy the reactions of each officer as they opened their gifts.
“A lot of them were just overwhelmed with gratitude,” Rehard said. “A lot of them posted pictures on our page to show their appreciation.”
Many posted personal thank you notes to the families and individuals who took the time to provide them with something special.
“It’s so comforting to know that there is support out there,” read a post from Eaton County Deputy Travis’s wife, Melissa. “And thank you to everyone that helped create, organize and deliver this incredible act of kindness.”
“I would like to take a moment to give a special thanks to someone who took the time to put together a special gift and adopt me in the Adopt a Cop program,” posted Deputy Lopez. “Your gift and card with words of encouragement boosted my belief that people that support us LEO’S far outweigh those that do not. I am proud to be able to serve and protect the citizens of our county, state and the USA.”
Rehard said the project has gone so well, she and Antcliff plan to continue to utilize the group to organize other acts of support for officers in the future.