When I was younger, I was taught to never talk to strangers and that the police were to be feared. I'm pretty sure I was deathly afraid of hearing the sirens and where I grew up in New Bedford, we heard them often.

I was pulled over a time or two by some grumpy cops, so that reinstated my fear.

As I grew up and traveled, my fear dwindled, although my impression of these uniformed men stayed the same. I even had close friends and family become officers and still couldn't shake this idea that these men and women were trained to be a different kind of human. Much of what we see on television has reinstated this.

It wasn't until the last few weeks that I started seeing some of our officers go the extra mile to not only protect, but also to care.

I first really saw the softer side when I attended the Friends of Jack Gala at the Bay Club of Mattapoisett, when the Chief of Police made a very touching speech where he referenced quotes from Winnie the Pooh about love, and talked about giving teddy bears to kids and seeing their faces light up.

Maybe it was meant to be, or pure coincidence, but the next day on my way to work I drove by Riverside Park and saw two police officers clearly feeding a homeless man.

Now don't get me wrong, I am still pretty afraid of the men in uniform and absolutely will respect their authority. However, my impression of these men and women has changed, to a more positive outlook and understanding of their tough skin and stern demeanor.

Moving forward I will "thank a cop" and show more appreciation for what they do. Have you had a positive experience with a police officer?

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