TAMPA (FOX 13) - Local law enforcement agencies are on a mission to humanize the badge, in light of recent events including two high-profile shootings involving officers and two deadly attacks against officers in the following days.
Departments across the Bay Area have taken to social media posting pictures of the support they are receiving from the community, in addition to posting pictures showing offices as everyday men and women.
"I'm a mother. I'm a daughter and I'm a sister. Sometimes putting on this uniform is very difficult, to come out and do this job knowing that it could be my last time," said Hillsborough County Deputy Clarissa Brady.
Brady is one of several deputies featured under the hashtag "Your Support Matters," a new campaign launched by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on social media.
HCSO officials said the campaign is their way of thanking those who have shown gratitude to deputies for their service through cards, food and simple handshakes.
It is also a reminder to others that in order to do their jobs, law enforcement officers need the support of the community.
"You hear about an 'us.' You hear about a 'them.' There is no us and them. We're in this together," said Major Chad Chronister.
The sheriff's office is using four donated billboards along major roadways, including I-275 and I-4 in Hillsborough County, to spread their message.
Chronister said solidarity is best achieved when people have personal, positive encounters with officers.
"We're over 230 deputies short on the street, another 200 deputies short in the jail, yet it's so important to Sheriff Gee to have us in these schools, have us in the community, have us at church events," said Chronister.
Many departments are seeing positive results from both increasing their community presence and sharing pictures of those interactions. Seeing the images allows many people to view officers as normal people.
"It warms my heart to know that people out in the community that we serve do care for us," said Brady.