PEORIA, Ill.–On Monday, deputies in Peoria County got a surprise lunch from three men.
Those three men, Warith, Joe, and Brian all responsible for the Don’t Start Initiative are making sure those in the Peoria County Sheriff’s Office are appreciated for everything they do.
“Anytime you have someone bring free food out to cops, they’re going to love you, but that’s not the point,” said Sheriff Brian Asbell.
Sheriff Asbell and his deputies were surprised with a free lunch today but the gesture is more than a sandwich.
“Having members of your community in mid-January to stop by and say thank you, that means everything; even more so than the gift of food,” Asbell said.
Don’t Start, a group that promotes kids staying away from drugs and violence wants police to know they matter.
“A lot of times, these officers go unappreciated for all that they do, so we figured the least we could do is buy them lunch,” said co-founder, Warith Muhammad.
These sandwiches are part of a bigger message.
“We really encourage other community leaders and other people in their communities to appreciate their law enforcement officers by showing them appreciation,” Muhammad said.
Muhammad says he wants to eradicate negative views of law enforcement.
“The positivity that officers do every day and the good they do every day goes unnoticed and unappreciated and that’s why it is so important that we show them appreciation,” Muhammad said.
They do not get the accolades they deserve most of the time.”
“We felt this was a token of our appreciation to let them know there are people in the community who care about them and their well-being,” co-founder, Joe Couri, said.
Asbell says he feels fortunate to have a relationship with these community members and hopes to forge more.
“A big part of our job is to continue to build community trust and legitimacy, that’s the word we use around here a lot.”
Don’t Start says they have received some backlash from their acts of kindness towards law enforcement, but that they will continue to recognize law enforcement throughout central Illinois.