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SLO County restaurants offer free meals for National Police Week

Posted at 7:48 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 20:09:38-04

Following the death of Detective Luca Benedetti, the Central Coast community has shown an outpouring of support for police officers.

Restaurants, like Tortilla Town in San Luis Obispo, are offering free meals to officers as a way of saying thanks for what they do.

“I think it’s a tiny gesture of appreciation. Again, we sell food. But it’s so minuscule compared to what they’re actually asked to do,” said Bad to the Bone Management President Roger Sharp. “They’re holding up the rules and regulations that we have in this country and we’re grateful for that.”

Roger Sharp is the owner of multiple restaurants in San Luis Obispo County. He planned to give free meals to officers for National Police Week, but when he heard about the killing of San Luis Obispo Police Detective Luca Benedetti on Monday, he decided to wait until Wednesday to announce the offer on Facebook.

“And we really encourage the police officer to come down, come down in uniform. We want to see them,” Sharp said.

Central Coast police officers are working through what they describe as “a somber week” after two California police officers, one in San Luis Obispo and the other in Stockton, were shot and killed within 24 hours.

“We refer to each other as brothers and sisters in the law enforcement organization,” said Sergeant Ethan Ragsdale, Santa Barbara Police Department. “And learning of the detective that was shot and killed in San Luis Obispo just hits absolutely so close to home for us. Also too, the officer that was killed in Stockton yesterday too was difficult for us.”

Support from the community is keeping them afloat.

“The support that we get from our community here in Santa Barbara is outstanding,” said Sergeant Ragsdale.

“We are very blessed to have received great community support throughout the year. During these difficult times such as Covid or an officer-involved injury situation,” said Sergeant Gene Stuart of the Morro Bay Police Department.

Community members have been tying blue ribbons around San Luis Obispo this week and dropping off gifts and flowers to the San Luis Obispo Police Department to show their appreciation.

“As an example, we just received a beautiful hand-crocheted American flag from a local resident which we are proudly displaying at our police department,” said Sergeant Stuart.

In a statement, Atascadero Police Department said, "The Atascadero Police Department is fortunate to serve such a great community. One of our core principals is building partnerships and in times such as these we are humbled by overwhelming support and outreach that has been demonstrated and expressed throughout our community. The passing of Detective Luca Benedetti is heartbreaking. Detective Benedetti started his career in law enforcement here in Atascadero and is remembered with great affection. All of us here at the City and APD are grieving along with his wife and children and SLOPD family, and we extend our sincerest condolences to them and all who are hurting.”

Central Coast police departments said they work hard to maintain and achieve a positive relationship with the community through programs like the neighborhood cop program, coffee with a cop and neighborhood watch groups.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department POA and the San Luis Obispo County Regional SWAT team have also set up a GoFundMe page to provide financial assistance to the Benedetti family in their time of need.