It’s Wednesday and that means … 🥁 drumroll 🥁 … it’s time to go in search of some good people who are doing good things for others, for the environment, or helping animals … whatever. I thought about today’s post, and I had picked out several young people to highlight. But then a story about a police officer came to my attention and I was thinking about all the negative publicity police officers get these days … and so, I went in search of cops who are doing good things. Certainly there are cops out there who deserve to be shunned, but I suspect that the majority became policemen and women because they wanted to help people, wanted to be a part of helping to keep the world safe, and they deserve to be recognized. The ones I found are guilty of doing only small things, but I was encouraged by these stories, and I hope you will be too.
Meet Toronto Police Constable Niran JeyanesanLast Monday, Constable Jeyanesan and his partner responded to a call at a local Wal-Mart. The store’s security officer had apprehended an 18-year-old shoplifter caught trying to steal a dress shirt, tie and a pair of socks. Odd assortment for a teenager to steal, don’t you think? Well, Constable Jeyanesan talked to the boy and discovered that his family was struggling, his dad had been out of work, and he had a job interview the next day, so he was stealing the clothes in order to look his best.
“This young person has been facing his own difficulties in life and he was looking to straighten out all that by providing for his family and trying to get a job. This individual didn’t have any resources. He wanted to go get that job. That was in his mind. I think he truly made a mistake.”
Instead of arresting the young man, the constable took the money from his own pocket and bought the young man the clothes! Jeyanesan’s staff sergeant, supported his decision fully, saying …
“It reiterates our goal of being positive role models in the community. Every circumstance is different and in this particular case the individual had undergone some personal difficulties and the officer wanted to help him out with that, and I think collectively that’s why we are all here doing this job.”
The young man contacted Constable Jeyanesan later that week to let him know that he got the job! And not only that … Constable Jeyanesan contacted some friends, and through his connections, they were able to get the young shoplifter’s father a job also! This, folks, is what serving the community is all about!
A similar story …
Last month, a young mother in Laurel, Maryland didn’t have enough money to pay for both food and diapers, so she was caught by store security officers trying to steal the two packs of diapers worth about $15. Police were called, and Officer Bennett Johns responded to the call. Johns realized the woman was struggling to provide for her son, and as someone who grew up with a single mother, he wanted to help both mother and child, so he paid for the diapers with his own money.
The city of Laurel has since referred the woman to an advocacy service that helps struggling families in the area. Police spokeswoman Audrey Barnes said of Johns actions …
“Just out of personal kindness, he decided to go ahead and buy them. It speaks to the heart of what community policing is all about.”
Yes ma’am, it surely does!
This one happened back in July 2016, two years ago, and while I usually only go with recent stories, this one so touched me when I came across it tonight that I couldn’t resist. It was shortly after the shooting of two black men by police – Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – followed by the fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally, so tensions were running high.
A group of cops were eating at a diner in Homestead, Pennsylvania when a couple entered the diner. The man eyed the cops and told the server that he did not want to sit anywhere near them. The officers overheard the conversation and what did they do? They paid for the couple’s meal! And they included a note …
“Sir, your check was paid for by the police officers you didn’t want to sit next to. Thank you for your support. I left a $10 tip too.”
One of the officers, Chuck Thomas, said …
“The day after Dallas, it was tight. You could feel the tension in the air. A lot of people did come up to us and thank us and shook hands and spoke of their sorrow. This was the only negative experience of the day. Essentially that was the whole goal of it was to let him know that we’re not here to hurt you. We’re not here for that. We’re here for you. We work for the public, and we just want to better the relationship between the community and the police.”
Again … this is how police can earn the trust of the community, bring people together rather than driving a wedge. This is a fine example of community policing!
Last January, Corporal James Rowe and Corporal Hue Pham of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana police department received a call about a woman down near a bus stop, with no word of whether she was conscious or not. When they arrived, they discovered an elderly woman with no shoes, wet socks, and wrapped in a blanket. The officers wasted no time buying her a hot meal, but took things a step further when they used their own money to get her some dry clothes, fresh socks, and even put her up in a hotel for three nights. A local newsman asked the duo why they had gone above and beyond the call of duty:
“We are just in a situation where we’re blessed and able to help other people. Put yourself in that situation. If it’s my family, my friend, or me in that situation, I’d like somebody to help me.”
With nearly 20 years on the force between them, the duo say it’s not their first time helping out someone in need. Just over two years ago, they were among three officers recognized for buying clothes for a baby left in the cold while its mother was arrested. “That’s just how we are,” said Rowe. “I mean we love to help people.”
A few bad cops have, unfortunately, given police a bad name. There are bad cops, just as there are bad lawyers, accountants, janitors, teenagers, and … well, name any group, and there are some who set a very bad example. But we need to try to remember not to judge an entire group by a few. Remember that old song by the Jackson Five, One Bad Apple? My hat is off to the officers highlighted above and the many, many others who risk their lives every day to help keep us safe. Thank you, Officers.
An addendum: Oh, the irony! I live in a diverse neighborhood, and seeing the cops here in da ‘hood is not unusual. As I was writing this piece, around 11:00, there was a loud and non-stop pounding on the front door! I jumped up, opened the door, and there stood a huge police officer, glaring at me. Behind him were 3 teenage boys. He turned to the boys and said, “Is this the lady?” They looked at me, their eyes grew wide, and all three shook their heads in unison. The officer apologized, I thanked him for giving me heart failure, and he and the teens went on down the street. I have no idea what that was about … I’m just glad I wasn’t “the lady” they were seeking!