With a pandemic that’s infected over 7 million Americans, and protests in over 500 cities, his family wasn’t too keen about his idea of a “mission trip to police” across the country. But in light of all the “turbulence” in departments across the nation, Jimmy Meeks, a 35-year retired police officer, hit the road on September 27.
So far, he’s logged about 3000 miles, and met with officers in Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota.
“I spent several days with Chicago officers. Every precinct I visited welcomed me as if I were one of their own. I was even invited to speak at several roll calls. They are an impressive group of police officers, very professional.”
Meeks also addressed several hundred police officers at the annual Breaching the Barricade Conference in Elkhart, Indiana, hosted by Chaplain Jim Bontrager.
“What Jim Bontrager is doing in Elkhart needs to be replicated across the country. They have a conference on Friday, and on Saturday, with the help of over 300 volunteers, they create a ‘Disneyland for Cops.’ I’ve never seen anything like it,” Meeks said.
He then made his way to the Minneapolis Police Department, where he visited every precinct.
“Just like Chicago, I was welcomed into every Minneapolis precinct. They’ve been under a lot of pressure the last few months. But you could feel the strength in these guys.”
Meeks also paid a visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which has also experienced its share of protests as well as some rioting.
“The Kenosha guys had a radiance about them. Very professional.”
Meeks noticed a common theme in many of his conversations with officers.
“I haven’t heard one officer complain about the turmoil on the streets. The real disappointment they’ve felt, has come from the lack of support from elected officials – the politics. I’ve always believed that there is far more stress inside the department than there is on the street. That was true in 1980, it remains true in 2020.”
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Meeks’ new website for police is now online — thecorneliusproject.com. Law Officer readers can make a tax-deductible donation to Meeks’ “mission trip” by going to the website.
“I hate sounding like a TV preacher, but truth be told, every hundred bucks that’s donated keeps me from sleeping in my car or standing outside the Salvation Army hoping to get a bed,” Meeks said with a laugh. “But if I did sleep in my car, or in a room filled with the homeless, it would be worth it.”
“My purpose for this trip is to encourage the officers. These are unprecedented times in the world of law enforcement. And a lot of cops are second guessing their career choice. For those who stay in it, I want them to know someone is in their corner.”
Meeks also had a warning for the public.
“I hear a lot about the ‘silent majority.’ But silence is not an option at this point in our history. We have got to stand up and speak out. The public better get behind the local police or the consequences will be tragic. Many cities are experiencing increases in crime, and that could easily become the story of thousands of American cities.”
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