From shooting hoops with local kids to helping out an elderly veteran, Officer Daniel Bump has made a big impact on Elkland in a short time.
“I’m just trying to show the better side of law enforcement and say, ‘Hey, we have a heart, too and we care about the community,’” said the Athens native who has lived in Elkland with his family the past couple of years.
Bump previously worked for other county police departments and has been patrolling for Elkland for just over a month. His roots, though, were with the Marine Corps for eight years, which is what led to his encounter with another local Marine.
“I was out patrolling when I met John. He stopped me and we got to chatting,” said Bump. “The topic of the Marines came up and that he’d been in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Lejeune (North Carolina), two places I had been. Then, he told me he lost his uniform in a house fire around 2012.”
Bump said he felt that to his core.
“We take great pride in being Marines. We’re brothers and sisters because of what we did and where we’ve been. And to lose something like your uniform, I know is tough.”
Having kept all his uniforms since leaving the Marines in 2017, Bump decided to gift a pair of dress blues to his fellow Elkland veteran.
“I just saw in his eyes what it meant to him, and it meant a lot to me, too,” said Bump. “It’s little things like this that shows my appreciation to veterans who came before me to ensure our freedoms. I thank all veterans who have sacrificed.”
The encounter was posted to the Elkland Police Department’s Facebook page, where community members shared, liked and commented about the act of kindness.
“I’ve received nothing but positive comments and a heartwarming welcome, so I thank the community for that,” he said.
Bump, a self-proclaimed “very competitive basketball player” has also been seen in the community taking advantage of recent warm weather and getting to know kids in the community. On nice days, you might find him at Jerome Park playing basketball in full-uniform against some slightly shorter competitors.
“I love playing basketball, so for me to go out there and shoot some hoops with them has been great. The first time, in a matter of five minutes, we went from six kids to about 30,” he said, adding with a laugh, “At least for now, I can’t let them win.”
Bump said his reasoning for stopping isn’t all fun and games, though.
“We’ve gotten some complaints about not-so-great things going on in the park, so some police presence might deter that,” he said. “If people see me there, they know we’re patrolling and watching that area.”
He also said it’s important to him to get to know kids in the community and for them to know him as both a role model and someone they know they can approach if needed.
“Obviously, there are certain things you can’t discuss with a minor without parents present, but at least if there is a situation going on, they can make me aware and we can go from there,” he said.
When he’s not patrolling, playing basketball or doing administrative work that comes with being the new officer in town, Bump says he’s thinking up ways to further help and bring together the Elkland community.
He hopes to organize a lunch for local veterans with minimal cost to them, but other proceeds would benefit organizations helping wounded warriors. Another venture on his horizon is a Toys for Tots benefit, in which a bin to collect toys for less fortunate kids would be set up in town.
Being an active person, Bump said he’d also like to organize some type of obstacle course similar to a Tough Mudder for kids at Clark Wood Elementary School.
“It would be something to keep them active and give them something to do in the summer months,” he said.
Bump said while he’s not sure what he’ll have time to organize in the near future, he said he promises to carry out his primary goal of watching over and caring for the community.
“If you love what you do, it’s not a job,” he said. “I just want to try to bring the community together, especially during these tough times. I want everyone to know I’m here to help.”