Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett is starring in a new Dallas Police Association campaign that aims to thank police officers.
The Hall-of-Fame running back is featured in a public service announcement alongside much less famous local business people (and a kid). The 30-second spot (posted below) and the website 33thanks.com directs people to the Assist the Officer Foundation, which aids cops and former cops in need, and the families of officers killed in the line of duty.
“I’m a real stickler about little things make big things happen,” Dorsett said Tuesday. “And just for a little thing like that to say, ‘hey, thank you’ — that goes a long way.”
Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston said he was “incredibly grateful” to have Dorsett’s help.
Dorsett spoke Tuesday to The Dallas Morning News about the campaign.
DMN: What made you want to get involved in this campaign?
Dorsett: I thought it was a great idea just to say thank you. I also want to help people feel a little more comfortable when they see a police car or police officer, and to understand that these guys — they have families as well. They’re out here protecting our families, putting their lives on the line. So, just to create more awareness about what they do and for people to appreciate what they do.
DMN: Have you had a long relationship with law enforcement?
Dorsett: (Laughing) Man, I’ve been in and out of jail a few times. I’ve had a long rap sheet. No, but when I was approached about the whole scenario, I said, ‘man, this is great.’ People talk about heroes and I said, man, these are our real heroes … There is a certain comfort level in knowing that when I leave town and something goes wrong and my wife calls 911, they’re going to show up and help protect my family.
DMN: Have you done anything like this before?
Dorsett: I can’t say I have. But this is long overdue … I’m just hoping this takes off all over the country. We’ve lost a lot of good men over the years — fathers, husbands who have been policemen.
DMN: Is there any reason why you’re doing this now, specifically with all the negativity nationally toward policing and their tactics?
Dorsett: I don’t know why it’s now. All I know is that it is now. Obviously, this could come back with the negative things that are going on with police departments. But I’ve always felt that — even myself, personally, I’m an old guy — if a police car pulls up beside them I think, ‘what have I done?’ But for young people at an early age, it’s about telling them, police officers are your friends. They’re not your enemies. And the young kids today, if they can learn that and appreciate that … it takes the stigma off police officers.
DMN: Do you think there is a lot of distrust, maybe more than normal, in police right now?
Dorsett: I haven’t been paying attention to who is trustworthy as far as police are concerned. But we as a society need to understand what the big picture is with police officers. Every time you see a policeman, you think ‘it’s bad, it’s bad, it’s bad.’ We need to get away from that thought process. They’re not bad people. These are good people. They’re here to run the bad folks away. There is good and bad in just about everything. But for the most part, the good outweighs the bad by a tremendous amount. So you get a couple bad apples, and the bad apples make it bad for everybody. We just need to let some of that go and appreciate these guys.