Officer Tommy Norman Thanks The Game for Starting a Movement With GoFundMe Page
Officer Tommy Norman received an unexpected hip-hop cosign this month. Thanks to The Game's son Harlem, the police officer from North Little Rock, Ark. was honored with a GoFundMe page, which was created to raise funds so that he could continue helping the people in his community. Once the initial goal of $10,000 was surpassed, The Game upped the ante to $50,000. Now the GoFundMe page stands at more than $72,000 donated by 2,894 people. So why do so many people want to help a cop they don't know?
The door to Officer Norman's world was opened due to Instagram recently. As Game tells it, he had a conversation with his son about good and bad cops in light of the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police. After their talk, Harlem found Norman on Instagram and witnessed the positive work he was doing while patrolling a North Little Rock neighborhood, a predominantly Black community.
A look through his social media account proves Officer Norman is a man of the people. From visiting Lois at a day center for senior citizens to rolling up in front of Amiyah and Fat Mac's houses, this cop, who's been on the force for 18 years, makes it his business to do community policing the right way.
Norman found out that The Game and Harlem created a GoFundMe page for him the day after it launched on July 9 -- all because his phone wouldn't stop ringing. "On Sunday (July 10), my phone was just blowing up, [people] texting me, saying, 'You know The Game started a GoFundMe?'" he tells XXL. "Initially it was $10,000 and he donated the first $1,000. Then it went up to $50,000, and I thought the goal was $50,000 and that it was going to stop at $50,000. I think it’s almost at $70,000 now... It’s just crazy."
As the nation deals with the aftermath of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile's death, officers like Norman should be celebrated for helping to bridge the gap between cops and people of color. Positive community policing is nothing new for Norman, who's been volunteering in North Little Rock for programs like Meals on Wheels since he was 14.
According to Norman, a self-described hip-hop fan, he doesn't feel worthy of all of the attention he's been receiving as of late. "It’s the fact that we are such a small town, 61,000 people in our city [of North Little Rock]," the officer shares. "I don’t feel worthy, I don’t really see what other people see because I’m on the inside looking out. I’ve been doing this for years, because I started when I was young [volunteering]. It’s been a part of my life, it runs through my bloodstream. I get all these phone calls and media requests, and I’m thinking, I’ll do them because I’m honored but what’s the big deal? And I’m glad that I approach it that way, that shows that I’m grounded. I take so much pride in remaining humble."
The neighborhood that Officer Norman patrols, which he describes as an "impoverished, low income type area," is full of children, which quickly caught his attention. When he plays songs like Desiigner's "Panda" -- one of his favorite joints at the moment -- they even come running to his cop car. "I noticed when I began to patrol these neighborhoods as a new officer, there were a lot of kids that were just sitting on their front porches or hanging out in their front yards, and you know just maybe needed that extra interaction with police officers," Norman states.
"And so that’s why I started parking my police car and getting out, just hanging out with them, sitting on their front porches, playing basketball with them, playing football with them. I took it a step further. In the summer time I was putting the ice chest in the trunk of my car, I would pass out cold drinks to kids and then it went to snacks. I can tell you today that because of social media, the response that we’ve gotten as far as packages, we got 40 boxes in yesterday of snacks clothes and toys."
While his Instagram following jumped from 177,000 followers to over 1 million after the recent killings of five Dallas police officers, Norman isn't looking to gain Internet fame. His goal is to build trust and respect between the community and the police through forming relationships. "The importance of positive policing is just we’re all in this together," he explains. "We are police officers, but more than that, we are human beings. We wake up just like you do, put our clothes on just like you do. We’re no better than the next person, it just so happens that we have a job of a police officer of authority. Just because we have a job of authority, doesn’t mean that we can’t go out and form relationships and be your friend." He also hopes to inspire people along the way.
The Game and Officer Norman haven't met yet, but the rapper's wish is that the officer use the money raised from the GoFundMe page to start a non-profit organization. Norman has every intention of looking into that opportunity to make it happen.
The Documentary 2 creator impressed Norman with his call to action since he's a top-tier figure in the game. "I knew that The Game is big-time, and very well known in the music industry," he conveys. "I even listen to his music, so I’m thinking this guy right here, out of all people, I wouldn’t think that he would be the one supporting the police. But also I think just reading his story, he’s attempting now to unite with the police and let’s all be together on one team and try to work through this."
Officer Norman even encourages people in communities around the country to challenge themselves to engage with their local police departments in a similar way the world has witnessed him do through his Instagram page. With a current following of more than 1.2 million on the social media site, his message is being seen and heard by the masses.
Since Officer Norman hasn't had the chance to shake Game's hand in appreciation for his good deed, words will suffice for now. "I just want to thank him for changing the game here," Norman adds. "The Game changed the game and started a movement by just what him and Harlem have done. Me and the officers here, we want to continue what he has started and we want to build off of this. The eyes of the world are literally on us. People all over are watching us, and it’s really powerful."
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