Waxahachie police officers showed Wednesday morning that the public service of law enforcement goes beyond working a shift. Sometimes, it involves picking up a paintbrush on a day off.

Members of the department’s Blue Crew made repairs and improvements to a home on Murdock Street. They gave the home a new coat of paint and installed a new chain-link fence to enclose the backyard.

The idea for the project came from officer Abe Partington. Homeowner Barry Crenshaw reported to Partington that he was having some issues with people on his property.

“The past few months he has been having some problems with the foot traffic in his backyard — people cutting through from one suspected drug house to the next across the street, causing him problems,” Partington said. “They would yell at him. Get into his yard and mess with his dogs. I brought it upon myself to start trying to actually raise money on our own as a shift thing, just me and a couple of the guys. Chief Goolsby sent out an email a couple of months ago asking for ideas on what we could do in the community and I ran my idea by him.”

When the idea was presented, Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby said he thought the Partington' idea would be a great community project for the department, which is trying to build a better relationship with city's minorities, he said. Goolsby said he sent out a note to his troops to find ideas about a couple of months ago.

“With the help of some donations and Lowes and Home Depot, we decided to build him a fence,” Goolsby said. “From there, we came and looked at the house and said, 'You know the house needs a coat of paint on it, too. So we will do that, too.’”

About 15 officers volunteered for the project. Every officer working on the home was off duty with the exception of one, who would leave the project to respond to calls if he was needed elsewhere.

Being a police officer is more than just making arrests and writing tickets, Goolsby said. It is about taking care of the people the department serves.

“We are there to help people. We do that in any number of ways. We had an officer the other day that went home and got a blanket for a homeless person. People don’t hear those stories. So this is another way to say that we do care,”Goolsby said. “I am hoping to do some more projects. We will kind of see. It is all done with donations. We will have to see what we can get donated and what kind of projects come up. We are hoping that we can continue this type of thing.”

Crenshaw said the improvements made to his property make him feel more secure in his home.

“I was talking to one of the officers and I was telling him about the problems that I had with people going through my yard and causing a ruckus with me. They were walking and riding bicycles through it,” Crenshaw said. “When I would say something, they would get attitudes and say vulgar things to me. That’s how this came about. It is going to make me feel better about the house.”

Crenshaw said putting up the gate will help him with security, and help him start the wood crafting business he's had for the past 12 years again. He added he would like to thank the officers for taking time out to help him.

“Giving back, especially this time of year, is very important. We do a lot in the community. This time of year, it is very important that we get together,” said officer Brian Fuller. “You know, it is a collective effort, so why not give back? You spend most of the year working together,” Fuller said. “It is all about community. We are working for the people. We can come work with the people.”

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