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Abbey Williams organized Team Blue Blaze, which includes Sgt. Jon Stout, from left, K9 Officer Elam Wallace, Williams, Cpl. Chris Townsend and K9 Officer Adam Lawson. Williams created 'trading cards' for each officer. CONTRIBUTED

Williams designs trading cards to introduce police officers

MADISON – Abbey Williams visualized an imaginative way to earn the Gold Award in Girl Scouts. She organized “Team Blue Blaze,” a community engagement program for law enforcement.

Williams, a junior at Athens Bible School, launched her “Team Blue Blaze campaign to shed a more heroic light on police officers. Recently, it seems like there is a negative attitude toward the police. Research shows that youth-to-police interaction makes the biggest impact on attitudes toward the police in later life.”

For each team officer, Williams produced trading cards, similar to baseball cards, for youth to collect. Melanie Kolowski Photography took photos, and Jerry Bryant with Zellus Marketing created a video.

After starting in Athens, her hometown, Williams then invited Madison police officers. She met with Investigator Teresa Taylor-Duncan, Community Relations Officer with Madison Police Department, and Chief David Jernigan suggested officers for Team Blue Blaze.

“Each officer will get 500 copies of their cards. When they see a kid or attend an event, they can hand out cards. The police department’s auxiliary fund for community relations paid for printing,” Williams said.

On the cards’ backs, Williams included questions/answers from elementary students that she visited at school:

* Where did you train to become a police officer?

* What do you do when you are not at work?

* What’s your favorite movie?

Taylor-Duncan said Abbey’s project defines community policing. “Bridging the gap between the community and law enforcement through interaction and allowing youth to communicate directly with officers provide a conduit to repairing the image of policing created by media outlets and social media programs,” Taylor-Duncan said.

“I believe the community will be extremely receptive to the program as our city strives to promote cohesiveness between law enforcement and the citizens we serve,” Taylor-Duncan said. “Acting as role models for children allows us the opportunity to provide real-life exposure to the challenges we face, creating a better understanding of what law enforcement really is.”

In addition, Williams created a website with project details, scoutingforgold.com. She added a downloadable template for other departments to join the ‘team.’

This venture allowed Abbey to honor her brother Eli, who died of cancer. Eli admired police officers, and Abbey is working to reverse any negative perception toward law enforcers.

Abbey’s parents are Vic and Kristie Williams, and siblings are Hannah Grace, 18, and Caleb, 11. Vic works as a software engineer. Kristie is director of Eli’s Block Party Childhood Cancer Foundation. The Williamses are members of Madison Church of Christ.

Abbey participates in Limestone Lead, Beta Club, Lads to Leaders, Science Club and yearbook staff. Currently, she plans to attend Harding University.

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