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Orangeburg police distribute groceries to improve community relations

Chief Austin says the shift that distributes the most "Greg's groceries" will be rewarded a lunch provided by him. The aim is to improve community relations.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. — The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety has launched a December challenge incentivizing its officers to distribute groceries to people in need. The department says this challenge was launched as part of an initiative to improve community relations.

“As we are able to identify families that are in need, we can provide a very meaningful service during this time of the year," said Director of Public Safety Charles Austin.

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Austin says the shift that distributes the most "Greg's groceries" will be rewarded a lunch provided by Chief Austin.

“We realize that there are a lot of families, a lot of people in need who may not know where to go to receive the services that they would benefit from. So, this gives us an opportunity to reach out," said Austin.

He says he hopes this initiative will help improve community relations.

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“We realize that there has been a disconnect between the community and the police community, and we need to reestablish that relationship of shared responsibility," said Austin.

The department says the campaign was made possible by a collaboration with nonprofit organization Serve and Connect. The organization, which is dedicated to fostering relationships between the community and police, was founded in honor of Forest Acres officer Greg Alia after he was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2015.

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“We, as officers, work for the community and that’s my biggest goal -- to show  that we are for you, alright? The community, that’s who we serve. Number one," said DPS Community outreach coordinator Devon Gilmore.

The campaign ends on December 17.

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