During a time of intense scrutiny, a new Gallup Poll released this week shows Americans' respect for law enforcement surging to its highest level in 50 years.
Three in four surveyed say they have a great deal of respect for the police. Those attitudes are manifesting themselves in our area.
Agents at a Century 21 office in Port St. Lucie work to find the best homes for their clients. But this year, Debi Jensen wanted local law enforcement to feel like her office was also their home.
"We do a first responder appreciation Friday once a month," said Jensen.
With the help of other sponsors, she invites them in for a meal.
“To show them we appreciate them in the utmost,” said Jensen.
The Gallup survey comes at a time when many police officers feel they’re on the defensive.
St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara says events over this past year, both good and bad, have really made a difference when it comes to law enforcement perceptions.
“Ever since, for lack of a better word, the assassination of law enforcement officers across the country, we have seen an outpouring of support like never before," said Sheriff Mascara.
The sheriff believes one key has been a greater presence in the community, like with the First Step Club in the Garden Terrace neighborhood.
“We have a philosophy around here that we’d like to have 10 positive proactive interactions with our public before we’re called to an event in their life," said Mascara.
Midway Dental Center brought over lunch and dinner to the sheriff’s office last week as a thank you for their recent work during Hurricane Matthew.
“They were on duty doing everything for us so we just wanted to give back and thank the officers for the sacrifice they do not just for the hurricanes but everyday," said Kelly Blair with Midway Dental Center.
The Mascara said the public has become much more aware of the dangers of their job, and his men and women appreciate the pats on the back, and the food in the stomach.