Police converged on Bethlehem Baptist Church Thanksgiving Day. It wasn't a business call. It was pleasure, as in "time to eat."
The Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC) hosted a Thanksgiving dinner on Sherwood Hall Lane for the on-duty police officers from the Mount Vernon District station.
The CAC, composed of members of local Neighborhood Watches, supports the police department and its officers enhancing community policing.
"Our goal is a safe community," said Darrell K. White, pastor of the host church. "This is our way of participating as a religious community. We see what can be accomplished through working with and through others. In this case, the officers of Gum Springs."
FOR THE OFFICERS, it is the standard 1:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift. Their families were at home ignoring the day planning to celebrate on Friday or visiting their side of the family.
"We appreciate the community caring enough to take the time to give what we wouldn't have today," said Officer Maureen McKeon.
The meal is like many, with turkey, the traditional side dishes and lots of dessert; so is the conversation — football, what really should go into dressing, stories of past adventures and tales of the extended family poker game.
And as police officers, they look forward to moving into the new station in Mount Vernon sometime in March.
OFFICER KEITH BAKER summed up the spirit of the day, saying, "What we would really like to be thankful for next year is a year without pedestrian fatalities. His fellow officers nodded in agreement.
Then the radio interrupted the conversation and several officers left. The call is on their beat.
For information about the CAC, contact Officer Ed Rediske, Crime Prevention Officer at 703-360-8928.