Mary Roberson, a resident of Windsor Gardens Convalescent Center, received a surprise visit from two Hawthorne police officers recently — to help celebrate her 108th birthday. Sgt. Scott Nichols and officer Shelley Yoshida surprised Roberson, who was born in 1912, in front of family and staff with a delivery of balloons and flowers on Saturday, Aug. 1.
Nichols, a 19-year veteran of the Hawthorne Police Department, recently sought to implement bike patrols in his city from his experience with the Los Angeles Police Department.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, Hawthorne police have been able to reallocate more time and assets towards public relations and community outreach. In the last few months, officers have performed dozens of home visits for birthdays and other celebrations — or just to connect with the residents they serve.
“What would usually be about five days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is now about 12 hours a day, six days a week,” he said. “Some days we’ve been able to pull off up to four visits to residents.”
The visits with community members have not only helped residents to establish better relations with the Police Department, Nichols said. They’ve also helped to boost police moral.
“These last few months, with all the tensions the coronavirus and the nationwide protest, moral has been low,” Nichols said. “So every time we’ve been able to make these visits we take them because they really do boost the moods of everyone involved.”