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Police officer promotes positivity on patrol

North Little Rock officer Tommy Norman has been both patrolling and impacting his community

Police officer Tommy Norman, from North Little Rock, Arkansas, has been described as a blessing by many in the community he serves. Though the 18-year veteran officer’s social media pages have attracted extra attention within the past few days, the care and acts of kindness displayed by Norman have been going on for years.

In videos and posts on Instagram and Facebook, Norman can be found with neighborhood kids performing the latest dance craze, taking a selfie or even playing in wigs. Yes, wigs — anything for the kids.

“I want to inspire people,” Norman said last year in an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin. “Not just other police officers, but people in the community. It’s a partnership between the police and the community. We have to work together to make our community a safer place and a more peaceful place to live, so I took it to the social networking sites — Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — to inspire other people to go out and make a difference in their corner of the world.”

Norman’s good deeds are a positive light in the wake of one of America’s darkest weeks. After last week’s shooting deaths that rocked communities and police departments across the country, Norman’s posts showing fun interactions between the police and community were shared by thousands on social media platforms.

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His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Last year, in the same CNN interview, rapper and activist Killer Mike spoke about the importance of mentoring programs and the perception of black people and their communities. He mentioned Norman as one of the driving forces of change as an officer.

“I don’t want black death to just be a television spectacle,” Killer Mike said. “I want the white viewers on the other side of this television right now to get involved like a policeman in North Little Rock. He doesn’t know I follow him, he doesn’t know I know him, but his name is Tommy Norman. This man is out of his patrol car every day. He has taken pictures with other families that are black, with white kids in the community — he’s in the community. With North Little Rock, it’s no square dance. It’s no easy place to police … I would encourage more police and more people to look at what this officer is doing in particular because he’s doing something right.”

On July 9, rapper The Game took time out to post on Instagram about the conversation he had with his 13-year-old son, Harlem, about police officers. After the “good cops and bad cops” discussion, Harlem’s research led to published articles about Norman and his active, entertaining and pleasant involvement in the community.

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Soon afterward, Harlem created a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise money to help Norman and his mission to continue encouraging positive interactions between police and the communities they serve.

“Every police interaction does not have to be a negative one and Officer Norman is changing that one person at a time,” the page says. “He has changed the way he approaches the community he patrols and is committed to building strong relationships with the residents … We will be purchasing and delivering items such as snacks, drinks and toys for him to keep his trunk stocked for the kids and members of the community.”

Norman took time to thank Harlem for starting the page and recognizing his mission. In two days, donations exceeded its $50,000 goal.

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.