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Chester County community gives support to officers on day 8 of Danelo Cavalcante search

Chester County community supports officers on day 8 of Danelo Cavalcante search
Chester County community supports officers on day 8 of Danelo Cavalcante search 03:03

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa. (CBS) -- The community is coming together in support of the hundreds of officers now on day eight of the manhunt for Danelo Cavalcante.

As day eight of the manhunt continues, mental and physical exhaustion has certainly set in for the officers involved in the search. The Chester County community and beyond are trying to ease that burden by lending their support.

It's a return to some sense of normalcy in parts of southern Chester County. Several schools are back in session and attractions like Longwood Gardens reopened. As of Thursday night, a shelter-in-place was issued at Longwood Gardens after Pennsylvania State Police said during a news conference that there was a possible sighting of Cavalcante before 12 p.m. 

Hundreds of officers remain on the search for convicted murderer Cavalcante fighting through things like a heat wave and dense terrain.

Danelo Cavalcante search: Video shows escape from Chester County Prison

"Our jobs easy, all we have to do is make sure they got water, Gatorade, and fluids in them," Chris Eiserman, Delaware County FOP President, said. "These guys they're out there hunting this prisoner and they're going to find him."

For several days, the Delaware County FOP have set up shop at the command center making sure fellow brother and sister officers and troopers are hydrated and well fed.

They got there at 5:30 Thursday morning to serve up bacon, coffee and eggs.

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"We got three guys here that worked all day yesterday they worked the street all night and they came right back here today because they wanna make sure the cops out here are getting hydrated and fed," Eiserman said.

The FOP members aren't the only ones helping during this time.

Eiserman with Delco's FOP says the community is stepping up too in a big way.

"Nonstop people have been coming by the command center dropping off food, water, Gatorade, apples, water ice," Eiserman said. "It's unbelievable."

One of those people is Hollie McDonald and her dog, Ray.

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The two from West Chester dropped off cases of water, sports drinks, food for the officers and of course, milk bones for the K9s.

"We could all do a little bit of an act of kindness," Hollie McDonald said.

McDonald says giving back is personal. She comes from a law enforcement family and the need to give back right now came after having a stroke this spring.

She says the community came out to help her and now it's her turn.

"We can all do something as part of this community when there's so much that divides us," McDonald said. "There's a lot more that we can united around and one of those being in Chester County is getting this guy."

McDonald volunteers at a local church and says next week her students will be writing letters of encouragement to the officers out on the search.

Pennsylvania State Police says anyone who would like to drop off donations can do so at the front door of the command post.

Couple in Chester County voice concerns and need of change after 2 inmates escape 04:28

Many neighbors here feel like there are more questions than answers.

The big question for one family we spoke with today who lives adjacent to the prison how did two inmates escape at two different times?

James Cleare has lived here since 2020.

"None of us should be experts in how prisons are run but it feels like we all are after a week of hunkering down," Cleare said.

It wasn't until this week, he says, that he even knew any details about the first inmate's escape. Now he's calling on the county and the prison to make major changes, including if high-level offenders, like Cavalcante, should even be temporarily housed there.

"A transparent reform needs to happen, or a lot of us are gonna think twice about being adjacent to what they call a prison but what should really be just a county jail," Cleare said.

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