CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - While most peoples’ lives are changing, police officers are going to work each day doing what they always do.
WBTV’s Caroline Hicks asked officers Reggie Gilmore and Anthony Bogues whether coronavirus has made it harder to address crime.
“We’re still policing no matter what," Officer Gilmore said. “Coronavirus is here, we’re police 24/7, so we’re still doing our job as we’re supposed to. Coronavirus might make it a little more difficult but we’re still out there in the streets working to protect all the citizens of Mecklenburg County.”
They say it can be emotional going home at the end of the day.
“That part is tough, but we did take the oath to do this job under any circumstances," Officer Bogues said. "We just go out there and try to do it with our best regards. We try to take care of our business as best as we can.”
They are protecting the streets and also finding time to volunteer. Each morning they deliver Friendship Trays of food for those who cannot leave their homes.
They are having to change their daily interactions.
“Even out in the public, usually you go up and give somebody a handshake hey how are you doing," Officer Bogues said. "In this current moment you have to give a toe tap or an elbow or something like that. It’s kind of changed a lot of things but pretty much getting ajusted to it and kinda understanding that this could potentially be the new norm.”
Both officers devote the majority of their day to the Police Acitivities League, a non-profit that sponsors at-risk youth to keep them on a productive path through athletics.
But because of the pandemic, basketball practice looks a little different these days.
“They don’t have the gym and this location as an outlet so they kind of have to change the way they move, doing stuff inside," Officer Bogues said. "So we’re just there as a shoulder kind of listening up, kind of giving them tools on our behalf to keep their minds going during this time.”
They are keeping the kids engaged via Zoom, with special guests. Last Wednesday Muggsy Bogues taught them drills.
The goal is to keep the kids busy while they are not in school.
“That is very important to keep them busy because we know what kids’ minds tend to do when they’re bored," Officer Gilmore said. "When they’re bored they tend to do things they don’t normally do so we are trying to make it a fact of checking in on them.”
The officers serve as a reminder for the kids that they are never alone.
“Role models,” Officer Gilmore said. “We try to let them know we’re here for them. They can call us up they have our cell numbers, they can ask questions. It’s very important that they know someone is here for them any hour of the day or if they have any questions they can come ask us and let them know that this program is for them.”
They also talk to the kids about violence they may be seeing in their communities.
“We mentor kids from 12-17 and we talk to them about violence and how to stay out of trouble," Officer Bogues said. "We try to instill that in them early so that when things like this happen they have us in their ear already.”
It is a mission that is personal for each of these officers.
“It’s very rewarding because it’s something that someone did for us back when we were growing up, and so we’re paying it forward," Officer Bogues said.