For those looking for ways to support local law enforcement officers, there are several options that are available.

For those looking for ways to support local law enforcement officers, there are several options that are available.

"Since the events in Dallas...the support that we have received has been unprecedented," said Executive Officer Marla "MO" Hawkinson of the McPherson Police Department.

Hawkinson said she hears of the police department or an individual office receiving a hug, card, cookies or prayer every day.

"We really appreciate waves, smiles, hugs, prayers, good thoughts, notes, food and goodies — though they are not necessary. The months since Ferguson have been the hardest in my 15 years on the job," Hawkinson said. "What is the most helpful is the people who are willing to defend us."

Hawkinson added that in conversations on social media, law enforcement officers tend to be lumped into one large pool.

"The number one best support thing for people to do for us right now is to remember we are individuals. We are human,” she explained. “Being in law enforcement doesn't mean we don't make mistakes, but when something bad happens, we will do our best to hold an individual accountable, whether they are wearing a badge or not."

McPherson County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Doug Anderson said he appreciates a simple "thank you" from people.

"We appreciate waves," Anderson said. "We appreciate gestures — a handshake or saying thank you."

Anderson also said writing a letter or note thanking a specific officer is encouraging.

"We get those. We see them, they get posted anytime we get a pat on the back," Anderson said.

When stopping at the Casey's store in Hesston recently, Anderson said he was pleasantly surprised when a young man held the door for him and stopped to shake his hand and thank him for his service.

"We understand usually if we're going someplace, something not necessarily good is happening," Anderson said.

The best way to help officers, Anderson noted, is to comply when asked.

"Comply instead of arguing, fussing or fighting," Anderson said. "Don't stop us from doing our job."

The Kansas Highway Patrol hosts a "Compliments/Complaints" form on their website at They also list a number of tips for drivers who are being pulled over:

n Do not panic. Use your turn signal, and pull over to the right as far as possible, allowing other traffic to pass and an officer to safely walk to your vehicle.

n If you are being pulled over, stop and turn off the ignition. If it is dark, turn on the interior light.

n Keep your hands in plain view, and do not make any sudden movements. The officer does not know you or your intentions. Reaching for your insurance information in the glove box may look like you are reaching for something else.

n Ask any passengers in your vehicle to remain calm and comply with the officer's instructions. Instruct them to keep their hands in plain view and not make any sudden movements.

n Wait for the officer to park the patrol car and approach. He or she may ask for your driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. If you do not understand why you have been stopped, politely ask the officer.

n If it is dark, the officer is likely to use a bright spotlight or flashlight to illuminate you and your vehicle.

n Stay in your vehicle unless the officer asks you to get out. Most of the time, the entire exchange will occur without you having to leave your vehicle. However, court rulings permit the officer to decide whether you should step out of the vehicle. If you are asked to exit the vehicle, keep your hands in plain view and watch for traffic.

n If you receive a traffic citation, a polite and cooperative attitude will make the event easier for everyone. Feel free to ask any questions, but a courtroom is the place to debate the issue, not the side of the road.

n Once the traffic stop is finished, cautiously merge into the flow of traffic.

n If you have concerns about the stop, feel free to contact the Patrol for more information about how traffic stops are conducted.

Trooper Ben Gardner of the Kansas Highway Patrol said what he appreciates is people who take time out of their busy days to express support.

"It's always nice if there's a card or a letter," Gardner said. "Anytime someone can just take a give us a little bit of support is appreciated. I always appreciate, when I'm out working, anytime I get a person that approaches me to take a brief moment to say thank you."

Gardner said he can see the sincerity behind people's words and well wishes for his safety.

"Genuine moments like that are impactful," Gardner said. "It's common for us officers to be dealing with difficult things. It's nice for people looking for ways to interact at other times."

"The public needs to understand that the things we do in investigations; we don't have the answers immediately," Gardner said. "Give us time to do what needs to be done and do it correctly."

"Coffee with a Cop" events are another good opportunity for the public to interact with officers, Gardner said, because the situation is casual and important questions can be answered.

Lindsborg plans to hold a "Coffee with a Cop" event from 8 to 10 a.m. on Sept. 3 at the White Peacock, 124 S. Main St., Lindsborg. The event is hosted by McPherson County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Lindsborg Police Department.