‘Police Week’ activities starting

Published 7:04 am Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bogalusa Police Chief Joe Culpepper said his department is gearing for National Police Week.

The week begins on National Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 16, and continues for seven days thereafter. However, Culpepper said his officers will be doing a variety of things in the community for the entirety of May, including participating in a torch run for the Special Olympics and a Rely for Life event.

Then, late in the month on May 21, the city police are organizing a charity softball tournament to support cancer treatments for Beth Branton, a corrections officer. Culpepper said the annual department fundraiser is in its fifth year, and each year the department picks someone who is from the department or is a family member and raises money for their medical needs.

Culpepper said the department is selling T-shirts in advance of the tournament, and they can be purchased now for $15.

“If people just want to support the police department in general, these shirts are designed for that, as well as for the softball tournament,” Culpepper said.

He said the shirts feature a black and white distressed American flag on their back with the phrase “Back the blue.”

Culpepper said the idea behind the T-shirts is to show unity between the community and the police force and it’s a way for the police department to support someone in need.

“There’s just so much in the country about how bad the police is,” he said. “I just want to give the people a chance who want to help us and support us to show that support. In the past we’ve been able to raise $3-or-$4,000 dollars,” he said.

The softball tournament will kick off at 8 a.m. The tournament will feature serious softball teams as well as more recreational teams.

In the nearer future, Culpepper said his department is also preparing for the annual Relay for Life charity event. That event will be May 6, and it will be at Goodyear Park at 10 a.m.

“I’ve been blessed in my family we’ve never had any cancer,” Culpepper said. “But I’ve worked this thing as security for many, many years and donated my time before we had a team in it, because it’s juts a worthy cause.”

Culpepper said the annual Relay event is inspiring, as the whole community comes together.

“Bogalusa is a very giving town and cancer touches a lot of people,” he said. “I’ve watched two of our employees suffer for years with whatever they got and it’s just heartbreaking. And you see other families who are hurt. It’s terrible to lose somebody to this. People need to come out and support it.”

Culpepper also pointed out that even if residents don’t enter a team, they should stop by for some food. The police department will have a team, and they’ll also sell chili dogs and sausage dogs to raise money for cancer.

After that, the police department will then participate in a torch run for the Special Olympics on May 16.