A new nonprofit organization called Concerned Citizens Organized for Police Support sought to build more respect for police by recognizing three officers at the Auburn City Council meeting Feb. 26.
The Kiwanis Club created the organization as a way for citizens to be able to better recognize and respect police in their area.
“We need to be able to support police and all that they do,” said Jack Galassini, a Kiwanis Club member.
The plan originally launched in Montgomery in the summer of 2018 but is now moving to new areas — including Auburn.
Galassini said in his presentation that CCOPS would aim to accomplish three major tasks within the community.
The first task is to increase and improve interactions between citizens and the police.
“I feel like we have a climate in this country right now of police officers being bad, that it’s OK to resist them and hurt them, but that’s just not the case,” said former police chief and current Councilmember Tommy Dawson.
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The second task is to provide a series of public service announcements to inform citizens about how police are risking their lives daily.
In light of the police shooting that wounded an Auburn officer on Feb. 15, this goal took on extra importance, the CCOPS representatives said.
The last task is to honor the county’s best police officers on a quarterly basis. The organization used the City Council meeting to honor three police officers for outstanding performances.
The district governor of Kiwanis, Mary Hoerlein, presented awards to the officers.
The first officer honored was Michael Hayden from the Auburn Police Division, who was chosen due to his actions at an accident in early January.
He removed an elderly woman who was not breathing from a wrecked vehicle and administered CPR until an ambulance arrived, saving her life.
The next officer recognized was Keith Oshel from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
He has helped his department become more efficient by revamping its technological system and creating an online portal for commonly-used forms.
The final officer to be honored was Shayna Hodges from the Opelika Police Department. She has been a school resource officer in Opelika for the past year and has received numerous letters and compliments from students and school staff due to her outstanding performance.
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