PFLAG shows support for local law enforcement

HARLINGEN — Sgt. Dave Osborne couldn’t get enough of the cupcakes spread across the table.

“I had three of them,” said Osborne of the Harlingen Police Department. He picked up another one, relishing the sugary sweetness decorated in red, white and blue.

PFLAG Harlingen had made about 150 cupcakes to show its support to the local law enforcement community. The event, “Cupcakes and Coffee for Cops” was held Friday at Mexican Cafe on Wilson Road.

“We want to focus on the positive, on the good cops out there,” said Cindy Candia-Luna, president of PFLAG Harlingen (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).

About 15 police officers came in and out of the cafe during a three-hour period. At one point about three police units were parked outside. One officer was leaving with a whole tray of cupcakes for dispatch.

Candia-Luna and other PFLAG members at the event indicated Harlingen Police Department had been very supportive. At the recent Orlando Vigil at the Valley AIDS Council, Osborne and other Harlingen police officers were on-site and shaking hands.

Negative publicity about police shootings and the random targeting of officers have heightened tensions across the country. These tensions have made it difficult for honest police officers to earn the public trust and perform their duties.

Harlingen police couldn’t sing PFLAG’s praises enough.

“It really means a lot to us,” Osborne said. “We have a second group coming in. I can’t tell you enough how grateful we are.”

Officer Frank Sojak was also grateful for the gesture.

“I really appreciate it, you guys,” he said. “I really appreciate it a lot.”

PFLAG-Harlingen Treasurer Charlie Galvan appreciated the opportunity to meet with law enforcement.

“We can get to know each other better,” she said. “We are a community outreach organization.”

“I feel great about it,” said PFLAG member Javi Toiney. “It’s an awesome turnout.”

Candia-Luna said it was all about building bridges with law enforcement.

“We have to trust them,” she said. “They’ve supported us with everything we need.”

PFLAG spread the sweet gesture around the city. After the officers left, PFLAG members took some of the cupcakes to La Placita Park for the homeless. The park on Harrison Avenue is also known as Lt. George Gutierrez Junior Park. PFLAG is planning to provide hot dogs and haircuts to the homeless in the same park later this month.