ROCKINGHAM — More than $10,000 raised during this year’s two-county Back the Blue Ride have been returned to Richmond County.
On Wednesday, ride organizer Chris Jackson and his wife Judy delivered checks for $5,400 to each the Rockingham Police Department and Richmond County Sheriff’s Office for their respective community Christmas shopping programs.
Jackson, a longtime officer with the Laurinburg Police Department, started the ride in 2020 following a nationwide backlash against law enforcement. Proceeds from the annual event go toward Shop with a Cop and Shop with a Deputy programs in Richmond and Scotland counties.
The ride raised $700 in its first year. However, that total has steadily increased with each subsequent ride, bringing in $12,000 in 2021 and $14,000 in 2022.
This year’s ride brought in $17,000.
This will be the 11th year for RPD’s Shop with a Cop program, which was started by Officer Jan Owens.
In addition to the Back the Blue funds, RPD also receives other donations from the community, including Over the Rainbow Children’s Center.
This year, the department will help 10 children pick out Christmas presents at Walmart on Dec. 15, according to Owens.
The sheriff’s office’s Shop with Deputy program began in 2020 under late sheriff James Clemmons with money from deputies’ participation in the no-shave program and donations from the business community.
In addition to the shopping program, the sheriff’s office also teams up with Santa and local fire departments to deliver toys to children in Ellerbe and Cordova.
RCSO will be helping 30 kids in two groups on Dec. 9, with the Ellerbe delivery starting at 2 p.m. The Cordova parade is scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 16.