For this cop, serving the community means making a meaningful connection with its residents.
C.J. Mullinax, a police officer in Bennettsville, South Carolina, decided to take some time out to throw around a pigskin with kids in a housing development area, according to ABC15. The delightful interaction was caught on camera by Lorenzo Adams, who was driving by at the time, and shared the video on Facebook, this past Tuesday.
The post quickly went viral, with almost 170,000 shares as of Friday afternoon. And while the clip has captured hearts across the Internet, the officer maintains that engaging with kids is just part of his job.
“That’s how you gain the community’s trust,” Mullinax explained to ABC News. “Not all cops are bad, but because of what some bad cops have done, we need to earn back respect from the community.”
The policeman told ABC15 that he was on patrol when he saw the kids waving to him, and ended up being the quarterback in a game of football. Though law enforcement may not be closely associated with fun and games, Bennettsville Police Department Police Chief Larry McNeil said he encourages interactions like this.
“I believe you can do so much more chasing a kid while holding a basketball or football than chasing a kid while holding a baton or gun,” McNeil told ABC News. “I always tell my guys they can do more with what’s between their ears — their brain — than the holster on their side.”
Mullinax took to Facebook to express his thanks for the outpouring of support he’s received.
“I’ve always wanted to make a difference,” he wrote on the social networking site. “That was my priority in this career decision. I’m so blessed to be touching so many people by just playing football with some kids.”
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