Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office deputies are now equipped with food packs to hand out to those battling food insecurity thanks to the efforts of a deputy already known to carry food for those in need in his patrol car.
The sheriff’s office received 100 “patrol packs” last month through the Believe Arkansas program, which is led through a partnership between AT&T and the Arkansas Food Bank.
AT&T launched its Believe Arkansas initiative last year to support families suffering from food insecurity. As part of the initiative, AT&T created “food collection points” to gather food for patrol packs that would be dispersed to area police departments and to other first responders who could “carry [the food] in their vehicles and distribute [it] to needy families in the course of their work,” according to AT&T.
When deputy Steve Sumner found out about the patrol packs, he immediately reached out to AT&T about equipping Faulkner County deputies with the food packs.
Initially, the deputy was turned down because “the program was not offered in our area,” FCSO spokesman Erinn Stone said. However, deputy Sumner did not stop there.
“Deputy Sumner continued to research and make contact with the AT&T until he was able to get in touch with [AT&T external/legislative affairs representative] Ricky Cross, and together they were able to bring this program to fruition,” Stone said. “At their discretion, deputies are now able to provide patrol packs to those citizens in need when they come in contact with them – whether it is a call for service, traffic stop or any other forms of contact.”
For others at the department, it was no surprise that Sumner went above and beyond to make sure deputies could provide families in need with food while out patrolling the county.
“Deputy Steve Sumner is known throughout the sheriff’s office for carrying food in his patrol unit to provide to the less fortunate in times of need,” Lt. Chad Wooley told the Log Cabin Democrat. “Being a law enforcement officer is not just about putting bad guys in jail, or traffic stops, or writing tickets; it’s serving the public and building community relations with citizens from all walks of life. Deputy Sumner has a true passion for serving the citizens of Faulkner County. When you hear of law enforcement officers ‘going above and beyond the call of duty,’ this is a true definition.”
Sumner said he was thankful the sheriff’s office was able to receive food packs through the Patrol Packs Program.
“In this job, we have a unique opportunity to come in contact with people t hat may not have the necessary resources they need,” he said. “Thanks to the partnership with AT&T and the Arkansas Food Bank, we have the means to provide immediate help to those who need it with these patrol packs.”