The Office of Community Oriented Policing (COP) within the Charleston Police Department ensures that our officers, from the Chief down to a new officer, understand that building positive community partnerships is just as important as reducing crime and the fear of crime in the community. One way we build community partnerships is by participating in non-law enforcement initiatives like Farmacy. Farmacy’s primary mission is to assist those citizens who are in need by providing them with fresh produce. The police department sees this as an opportunity to interact with the public in a positive manner.
Farmacy, provides fresh produce to the community at no cost. Farmacy is held every Wednesday from 2:30pm-5:00pm at Mall Park, 68 Columbus Street, within the Eastside Community of Charleston. The police department assists with picking up the food from the food bank and transporting the food to Mall Park. Officers then participate in this community initiative by helping the volunteers with the distribution and interacting with the citizens.
The COP office was recently reenergized in May of 2019. Previously, the office was managed by a lieutenant, two sworn officers and two civilian coordinators. Chief Luther Reynolds saw a need for a more impactful and thorough approach. He added a Captain to oversee the team and added sixteen officers and three supervisors to the team. This team plans, implements and participates in numerous community events within the city. Providing this office with adequate staff was a must in order to continue to improve our relationships in the community.
Dustin Thompson, Captain, City of Charleston Police Department stated that “My organization provides me an opportunity to work in a collaborative environment that improves relationships and trust between the community, law enforcement, and community leaders. I love that the COP office promotes transparency and inclusiveness when understanding and relating to community needs, which makes outreach and engagement easier and more successful.” Our role in HTC is to continue to promote healthy living in our community. This not only involves diet and having access to the food bank, but an overall since that healthy living involves reducing the fear of crime in the community, making sure trash pickup and streetsweeping are done continuously etc. Doing all these things will promote transparent communication between the city of Charleston and the community to continue to make our area a great place to live.
FARMACY is a collaborative program combining the efforts of the Charleston Police Department, MUSC, Fetter, Lowcountry Food Bank, The Charleston Center, Roper Hospital, local area farms & grocers, and Access Health. This community outreach initiative provides free fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis to a 12 block area of downtown in an effort to improve health outcomes and reduce crime. Each of the agencies involved also provides information and resources to help individuals link to the care they need to improve their overall health and wellbeing. [Charleston- Dorchester Mental Health Center Special Programs]
The health of each of our residents is essential to the quality of life of our city and region. As Augusten Burroughs once said, “When you have your health, you have everything. When you do not have your health, nothing else matters at all.”
I want to congratulate you on taking the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. Whether you’re on this website because you want to lose weight, find a group to exercise with or learn healthy recipes, you will find many community resources to help you reach your goal. Together, we can Lighten Up!