WATERVILLE — As the manhunt for alleged police-shooting suspect John Williams extended into its third day Friday, Winslow resident Shane Morrison said he remembered what the command centers were like for officers in them.

Morrison said he was once a police officer himself, so he knows firsthand what the command centers are like, how an officer’s energy can get drained over time. So he and his wife decided to do something. They mobilized an organization they run, Central Maine Jeep Owners, and on short notice were able to donate five carloads of food to weary officers.

“I just thought it was a good thing to do for our law enforcement agencies,” Morrison said.

The Morrisons’ group, which brings together Jeep owners and enthusiasts, is dedicated to doing good work in the community, Morrison said. So they decided to go to Shaw’s Supermarket on Kennedy Memorial Drive on Thursday night and start collecting donations to take food to the officers searching for Williams.

“My wife and I were talking about it on my lunch break,” Morrison said. “By 5:30 p.m. we were there collecting food and cash donations. It was a significant turnout.”

All told, they were able to raise about $1,200 to buy food, which turned out to be around five carloads.

They are among many in the region who have been delivering items to some 200 law enforcement officials who have been working in 12-hour shifts since Wednesday on the manhunt for Williams.

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said at a news conference Friday afternoon that the assistance has been so overwhelming they have “run out of space” to store items at the command center that’s been set up at the Norridgewock Fire Department and people should now call ahead before bringing anything else.

“The Fire Department has asked that before anybody brings any more food to the fire station, that they please give a call first,” Lancaster said. “They’ve actually run out of room. We appreciate the support and it’s just an example of how much the community supports us.”

Initially intended to be a one-off thing, Morrison said he had heard back from Shaw’s, where managers said they kept getting requests from customers about keeping the donation drive going. He said he’d like to do another drive from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

They delivered the food just before 8 p.m. Thursday, and they were “thanked graciously.”

“It was a humbling experience to see what was going on in the command center and the amount of police officers there,” he said. “And it was a great feeling to see something like that.”

Morrison said one of the families that delivered the food with them brought their young son, who was no more than 7 years old. Morrison said one of the officers there went up to the boy, pulled off a Velcro patch from his uniform and gave it to him.

“It’s an experience this little boy will probably remember for the rest of his life,” Morrison said. “It’s like he understood what was going on and it was the true meaning of ‘thank you.'”

The Morrisons were far from the only people who wanted to help by donating food to the command center in Norridgewock, where officers from various branches of law enforcement continue their search for Williams, after he allegedly shot Cpl. Eugene Cole, of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, early Wednesday morning.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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