DALLAS (AP) — A handful of Dallas police officers are moonlighting as superheroes at community events, trying to have a positive influence on the city's children.
Officer Damon Cole, who dresses as Superman, and others are part of the group Heroes, Cops and Kids, working off the clock to participate in neighborhood events. The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday (http://dallasne.ws/19Mgzpd ) that the nonprofit started two years ago and has high ambitions for the future, including a goal of one day opening a center to help wayward children.
The group's officers appeared at 30 events this year and said they collectively mentor about 50 children.
"When I got it, I was so hyped up that I put it on at work," Cold said of his costume. "I get a lashing from work. Cops are notorious at that — they rib you bad."
Sgt. Merlin Lofton plays Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe, and Officer Ricardo Campbell dresses up at Batman. Officers pay for their own costumes and for the costs of participation, which the group estimated at about $10,000 in total each year.
The officers prefer to fund the program themselves instead of making it an official police department group, though they have the support of Police Chief David Brown, who called it "a big hit so far."
Officer Ray McCampbell, who appears as the Green Lantern, said superheroes and police officers essentially "do the same thing."
"They fight crime. They come into school to get the bad guy and save the day," he said.