DOWNEY – Just days after tragedy struck the law enforcement community nationwide, the city of Downey has come together in an immense show of support for their local Downey Police Department officers.
Many Downey residents spent part of their Saturday bringing in gift cards for Downey officers as a way of saying “thank you.” The original campaign was proposed by community member Regina Rezex, who says she first saw the idea when her sister-in-law in Missouri posted about it on her Facebook page.
“She was going to do something similar, and I thought to myself, ‘you know, this is a really good idea,’” said Rezex. “Downey PD does a lot for the community…when I saw this on my sister-in-law’s page, I decided that, you know, what the heck, I’m gonna do the same thing here…”
The plan was simple: A “gift card thank you drive” would be held during the upcoming week from Saturday to Saturday, with Downey residents donating gift cards of $10 maximum to be distributed amongst Downey Police officers the following week.
Rezex then got into contact with Downey Police Officer Association President Mike Pope, who greenlighted the idea.
The drive comes mere days after 25-year-old army veteran Micah Xavier Johnson opened sniper fire upon police during a Dallas protest after videos emerged showing two African-American men being fatally shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Johnson’s fire struck 11 officers, killing five.
Rezex says that campaign is driven by the recent events in Dallas, as well as by Downey’s recent tragedy when Officer Ricky Galvez was gunned down in the DPD parking lot late last year.
“It’s just been a tough year, I think, for Downey PD,” said Rezex. “They have their own emotional rollercoasters that they were going and dealing with, and so I thought that this would be a nice way to say thank you and give them support since they’re always supporting the community.”
It didn’t take long after Rezex started to spread the word via social media for the campaign to catch like wildfire.
“I figured it would go viral within the community, and it did,” said Rezex.
By around midday, the police station had received an overflow of gift card donations.
In response to the overwhelming show of support and charity, DPD put out a statement, saying:
“The Downey Police Department... would like to thank everyone for their support not only during this trying time for the law enforcement community, but throughout the years. This kind gesture organized by Regina Rezex demonstrates the strong bond we have with our community, and we are proud to serve such an outstanding group of residents…”
According to officials, DPD officers are not able to accept the gift cards personally due to policy. Therefore, DPD will distribute what has already been given to those who are less fortunate during the holidays.
DPD is now asking that no more gift cards be brought in to the police station, and for those who wished to contribute to the original campaign to instead donate to one of three charities dedicated to helping those affected by the Dallas tragedy.