LUMBERTON — Megan Lewis wants law enforcement officers in Robeson County to know that they have the support of the community behind them.
So Lewis, a Lumberton native who now lives in New Hanover County, has started an Adopt-A-Cop program in Robeson County, which will pair local residents with officers from the Lumberton Police Department and the Robeson County Sheriff’s Department.
“The purpose of Adopt-a-Cop is to assign law enforcement officers to a family, group, or individual who will pray daily for them and send a note of encouragement, support, a $20 gift or gift card and a thank you for their service in the community,” Lewis said. “The citizens can take the gifts to the local departments and drop them off, or I can pick up the gifts from them to take with others I already have.”
Lewis said the program began in Concord, North Carolina, and has since spread to about 35 agencies across the state, including New Hanover County.
“A group of wives and citizens in eastern North Carolina started to get things going down here,” said Lewis. “So I decided one day, why not get my hometown of Robeson County involved because no one had heard of it there. That’s when I took the initiative to try to contact the agencies in Robeson County to get permission to move forward with the program.”
Lewis frequently travels to Lumberton and will run the program along with her mother, Veronica Jane McLean. As an emergency dispatcher, Lewis knows the challenges of working in law enforcement.
“I work for New Hanover County dispatch, and I hear what these guys deal with every single day. These guys serve and protect us all, even the people who have turned against them,” she said. “Showing how much you care and support them means a lot to them. The officers that have received gifts here around New Hanover that I work with were surprised at how much the citizens cared. It makes them feel really good to know someone out there still supports them and everything that they do.”
Lewis is currently working to assign those who have already contacted her to the Lumberton force, and hopes to start assigning officers in the Robeson County Sheriff’s Department soon. When people sign up, they will be paired up with an officer but will only be given the officers unit number to protect their safety.
Chief Mike McNeill said that the Lumberton Police Department is grateful to have this outpouring of support for law enforcement.
“We get so much support now from all people in general, businesses, individuals, churches, and of course this program. It just means a lot to us, we have people who support us and love what we do,” said McNeill. “We have to keep doing what we are supposed to, but the public is going to support us. It’s not a police thing, it’s a community and law enforcement working together thing. When we work together we can get a lot accomplished.”
Jack Frederick is an intern for The Robesonian.