With Christmas just around the corner, several charitable events are taking place throughout the community.
These events are very typical for our community in that we live in a place where those more fortunate than others are quick to come to the aid of those less fortunate.
One of the events is the Cops Care program hosted by the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department. This program has been very successful for several years and seems to grow each year.
The sheriff’s department has teamed with the Rolla Walmart and has raised funds to allow less fortunate children in the community to accompany a law enforcement officer on a shopping spree where the children are provided with a $100 gift card to purchase whatever they desire to purchase for themselves for Christmas.
Sheriff’s deputies, Missouri State Highway Patrol officers, Department of Corrections officers and police officers and even officers’ spouses accompany the child through the store to fill their Christmas wishes.
Rarely does a child use all the money for themselves in that more times than not, they want to purchase items for parents or siblings who were not able to be there. Most of the time, if the child were to go over the designated limit, the accompanying officer steps forward and pulls the additional cash out of their own pockets.
This year’s Cops Care event will be held Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Rolla Walmart Supercenter. If you would like to contribute to this cause, you may drop off cash or checks at either the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department or the Citizens Bank of Newburg in Rolla.
Another long-standing program that has also been ongoing for several years is the Fill a Ford for the Holidays campaign where the community is encouraged to bring in non-perishable foods to be donated to the various food pantries in Rolla and the surrounding communities.
The idea, originally spearheaded by Denny LaBantschnig of Denny Ford (now Sakelaris Ford) is celebrating the 23rd year for the program.
The Rolla Police Department, along with all of the City of Rolla departments, contributes each year to this cause. If you would like to contribute, take your food items to Sakelaris Ford and drop it in the truck. Your kindness will assist a family in need!
Now for some in-house news! The City of Rolla has reposed special trust and confidence in the knowledge, courage, integrity and professional excellence of Senior Patrol Officers Tony Lauth, Ben Tinsley and Chris Giacolone, and in view of these qualities and their demonstrated abilities as senior patrol officers and their dedicated service to the policing profession, they were therefore assigned as assistant corporals effective Dec. 1, 2013.
Assistant Cpl. Lauth has served with the Rolla Police Department since January of 2004. He was promoted to senior patrol officer in September of 2007 and serves as a SWAT member and Explorer Post adviser and has served in the traffic division.
Page 2 of 3 - Assistant Cpl. Tinsley has served since May of 2006 and was promoted to senior patrol officer in August of 2008 and serves as a SWAT member and performs interstate drug interdiction.
Assistant Cpl. Giacolone has served since July of 2011 and was promoted to senior patrol officer in May of 2013 and serves as a SWAT member. Congratulations to all of you.
I would also like to welcome the three newest members to the Rolla police family with the hiring of two new police officers and one additional telecommunicator.
First of all, I would like to welcome Central Communications Telecommunicator Ian Matthews who came to us from the state of California and initially joined our Explorer Post as a cadet. Ian then applied and was hired as a telecommunicator in Central Communications. Welcome aboard, Ian!
We also recently hired patrol officers James Cornet and Josh Nix who will serve in our patrol division. James comes to us after his time in the U.S. Army where he served in Iraq. James attended the Missouri State Highway Patrol Academy and graduated in September of 2013. James is married and enjoys spending time with his family.
Patrol Officer Josh Nix comes to us from Steelville. He attended the Missouri Sheriff’s Academy, graduating in November of 2012. Josh is married and enjoys working out and playing basketball. Welcome aboard, guys!
Be sure to welcome James and Josh to our community when you see them out and about.
And in keeping with the Christmas spirit, I would like to include this next entry from the desk of Telecommunications Supervisor Stacey Smith who writes:
“Today the Rolla Police Department helped to make a wish come true for a young man who is battling cancer. He has dreamed of being a police officer since he was 2 years old. Now he is a teenager preparing for his battle against cancer.
“It was his wish to spend the day as a police officer. Members of the Rolla Police Department came together to make this happen for him. Out of respect for his privacy, we don’t have any photos to share with you today but I wanted to be sure to thank all the people who came together to make this day a special day for Honorary Officer 829.
“I work with an amazing group of men and women at the Rolla Police Department. They really went above and beyond for this young man. I would also like to thank Mayor (Bill) Jenks, City Administrator John Butz and the members of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department and Missouri University of Science and Technology Police Department and Rolla Animal Control who all helped make this day special for #829 today.
“Special thank you to Penelope’s Restaurant for providing lunch for #829 and his mom. I am so blessed to be able to work with an amazing group of law enforcement officers and city officials. They make me proud every day. Please keep all of our officers, deputies and troopers and especially #829 in your prayers.”
Page 3 of 3 - In closing, remember that the Rolla Area Chamber of Commerce annual Christmas parade will be this Saturday, Dec. 7, beginning at 10 a.m. Our officers, explorers and volunteers in Police services will be stationed along the parade route for your safety.
The weather is predicted to be extremely cold and there may still be ice and snow along the route. Please exercise caution while standing along the parade route and stay on the sidewalks away from the parade vehicles.
Have a great week!