As the mercury hit 84 degrees Wednesday, Charleston police were on the streets not looking for bad guys, but for those who could use a cold drink.
About a dozen officers roamed the city with a police pickup loaded down with coolers filled with cold water and soft drinks. The officers, including division leaders and Chief Brent Webster, were out from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
By the time they finished at Mountaineer Pride Car Wash on Virginia Street West, the coolers were nearly empty.
Cpl. Errol Randle and Patrolman Chad Sizemore, both seen here, were among those handing out water. Randle gave water to car wash attendant Marwa Aboelmagd to share with her coworkers.
It's part of what the department calls "Pay It Forward Charleston." The idea is to build relationships in the community through random acts of kindness. He said the department wants to be a leader in community relations.
"We really want to show our appreciation to the citizens of Charleston also," Randle said. "They have been very supportive of us so we wanted to pay it back to them. With it being a good, hot day, what better than having some ice cold bottled water and some Cokes or some other soft drinks?"
Randle said the people he'd met while handing out cold beverages seemed to appreciate what they were doing. Some said they would do a good deed for someone else.
Sgt. George Henderson III, commander of the department's Community Services Division, said it was good for citizens to see officers as people.
"We're not all about arresting people and giving out tickets," Henderson said.
The campaign doesn't stop here. Events are planned throughout the month.
Randle said KISRA would host an event July 10, the Alzheimer's Association would have an event July 17 and the Father's House Missionary Baptist Church would have an event July 24. Any groups that want to get involved can contact Randle at 304-348-0509.