Organized by the Bunnell Police Department, volunteers tackled trash and heat to beautify the city of Bunnell.
City of Bunnell Police Department Chief David Brannon explained the purpose of Bunnell Cleanup Day, on June 18, this way: “After arriving in Bunnell in late February, residents and community leaders in South Bunnell told me a breakdown in trust existed between the community and the police. Residents wanted to see change in that relationship to improve the safety of their children. 'Frankly,' I was told, ‘The people in this neighborhood don’t trust you (the police). They have to see you care. You can’t just say it.’ I heard what this trusted community leader was saying: Actions speak louder than words.”
In response, the Bunnell Police Department proactively patrolled South Bunnell along with partners at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
"Internally, we created a Community Outreach team where an idea arose from a team members’ past law enforcement experience in a similar community where the police led a cleanup day," Brannon said. "With that idea in mind, we created 'We Love Bunnell.' We broke up into teams and addressed certain properties while asking other residents if we could help clean up their lawn and remove fallen tree branches, old furniture or appliances, and any other debris we encountered. Ultimately, we wanted this specific community to know we all care about them. By lifting them up, we can lift up the entire community."
Brannon added that the Bunnell Police Department officers engage with young people at Carver Community Center and Flagler Bulldogs football practices whenever possible. He hopes to host a Cops & Kids dodgeball game, noon to 5 p.m., on July 2, including a barbecue, bounce houses, and a water slide.
"We welcome the support and attendance of the entire community,” Brannon said.
Volunteers attended the cleanup lightly dressed with gardening-style gloves, hats and sunscreen. Each team was led by a Bunnell police officer. Garbage bags and refreshments were provided.
“We’re pouring our heart and sweat out in this effort, and others to come, both in community policing and enforcement," Brannon said, "so we can make Bunnell the best little city in the country.”