Amarillo, TX - The Amarillo Police Department doesn't normally participate in viral trends, but one that involved giving free hugs was welcomed with open arms.
A group of officers held signs that read 'free hugs' Thursday evening at Westgate Mall. The signs brought in the attention from the young and the old.
"Cops are very under appreciated," said local resident Martha Petschelt. "They risk their lives to save our lives and keep our streets safe."
The 'Hug a Cop' trend started in Delaware earlier this summer and has since been replicated across the county. Amarillo resident, Jessica Martin told her friend, a police officer, she would like to see this happen in Amarillo.
She was told if she could raise $1,000 for Officer Justin Scherlen, who was involved in a severe car accident last month, then Amarillo Police would do it.
"So, I said okay and I met that challenge,'' said Martin. "We sold shirts, did a raffle and we've collected over $3,000 so far."
Martin and the local group 'Amarillo Backs the Badge' went to IDK Sports Bar and Grill to raise the $3,000 for Scherlen's family.
This event meant more to the officers than just holding up their end of the bargain.
"We want the people in this community to know that we care," said Sergeant Carla Burr with the Amarillo Police Department. "It's huge for them to give us a hug, it's great and I'm so glad we can be apart of this."