GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - More and more South Mississippi law enforcement officers are being thanked by random people who appreciate the jobs they do. In many cases, cards and gifts are left to show appreciation. This movement to say thank you to officers is taking off in Gulfport.
Gulfport Officer Ben Bentz was about to start what he knew would be a long shift. He finished his breakfast at a local IHOP and made his way outside. Stuck under his windshield wiper was a small card with the words, "We see you officer and we believe in heroes."
"It's that little thing that you come out to that reminds you that people down here still care and that they're still looking out for us," said Bentz.
According to Officer Bentz, he's seen more support from the community in the past several months than ever before in his career. It's a trend that started here after the negative movement against police started nationwide.
"Through it all, this community has been really good to us, giving back, letting us know that they care," said Bentz.
Small gestures like notes, free meals, baked goods, and more, are showing up to make these officers feel appreciated. Officer Hunter Rodriguez recently noticed something stuck to his windshield while on patrol.
"It was a little black card. Stopped, picked it up, opened it up and it was an Applebee's gift card," said Rodriguez.
It's gifts like this that show Rodriguez and the others at the department that the community has their back every day when they come to work.
"We don't need to receive anything, but when we do it feels good to know that there are those people out there for us," said Rodriguez.
Officer Bentz agrees, "To have something small like that. It just makes the day worth it."
These acts of kindness just add to a growing list of communities reaching out to support law enforcement across the coast. Papa John's of South Mississippi is now selling t-shirts that let police officers know that the community has their back. The shirts are $10 each and proceeds will benefit the Gulfport Police Department. They can be purchased at any Papa John's on the coast.