Philadelphia police take neighbors shopping for Thanksgiving dinner

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In the community room of a grocery store in Hunting Park, police recruits went through some critical training on Thursday.

"When I was growing up, my mom would always say you give an elder respect," said Community Relations Officer Joseph Lukaitis, of the 39th district.

The room was full of neighbors from Tioga-Nicetown who lived through a 7.5-hour standoff between police and an armed man in August. Six officers were shot.

Months later, residents are still dealing with the aftermath.

"A lot of people are walking around mentally ill," one neighbor told cadets.

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police organized the conversation to help build better relationships but added a surprise to thank neighbors who participated.

"What we're going to do is each cadet is going to take you shopping for your Thanksgiving meal," said Maxwell Brown, of Getting The Max Out of Life.

The announcement was met with tears and cheers.

As the shock wore off and the grocery carts filled up, a more intimate conversation began.

"There's a lot of stuff in our community that's happen with kids dying, getting shot, and as people, we have to make that better," Latifah Williams told recruit officer Sean Gelslichter.

"They have something to do, a sport to do, a role model to look up to, they're not going to go out, do a crime, hurt someone, hurt themselves," said Gelslichter.

"We can be respectful of them, they can be respectful of us," said Williams.

Police did have one more surprise for the neighbors. Knowing transportation may have been an issue to bring them from their homes over to Hunting Park, the FOP also paid for a limo to transport the residents.
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