Upstate deputies show how a small gesture can go a long way

Upstate deputies show how a small gesture can go a long way
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 3:20 AM EDT
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CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - An Upstate sheriffs office is showing how a simple gesture can go a long way.

Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller started the snack pack program 10 years ago with one goal in mind. He wanted to build relationships between law enforcement and the community.

“It’s so important with the officers showing a smile and being not just a uniform and badge, but being a person,” Deputy John Boyd said.

When Deputy Boyd pulls into a neighborhood, he wants kids to know his face.

“They see me pull up while they’re outside playing basketball or football and they say, it’s Officer Boyd! They have all their friends and they pull them over and say, he’s cool, come on over,” Boyd said.

Boyd is a Cherokee County School Resource Officer. When he leaves the hallways, he heads out into the same community where he grew up. “I wanted to be part of a change,” Boyd said.

Throughout the summer, Boyd joins other deputies to hand out snack packs around the county. The bags are filled with crackers, a juice box, and a small snack.

“A kid runs up and says hey, it’s that officer that gave me a snack pack, and then their mom says, you gave that to them? I appreciate y’all,” Boyd said, “It’s great. I love those moments.”

The small act of kindness helps build trust between kids and law enforcement.

“I decided that I’m going to work for this local agency and I’m going to go out and make a change, and the interaction I had with that person is going to be totally different,” Boyd said, “For me, that was the whole thing, to bridge that gap and make better interactions because of the interactions I saw when I wasn’t a cop.”

Several Cherokee County churches donate to the snack pack program. With their help, deputies plan to hand out 2,000 packs this summer.