I had to do a double take on this story. I had just done an article on what some cops did to an older military veteran that left him in tears. I was expecting it to be another case of cops using excessive force. But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that after the older man had had his motorized wheelchair stolen, they and Overstock.com had donated a new one to the man. The man was so appreciative that he shed a few tears.
This is a similar case that wasn’t quite so emotional, but I’m sure the parents were shocked at the cops’ generosity.
Police had been dispatched to a McDonald’s where someone had reported seeing a mother hold her small child in her lap in the passenger seat. While such a thing might have not been a big deal fifty years ago, these days, such actions will yield at the least a citation for “child endangerment.”
But perhaps these two cops had a little more common sense, self-control, and compassion than your average cop. They didn’t give the parents a ticket. And they even bought them a car seat for their child. ABC News reported:
Two Michigan police officers are being hailed for making the decision to buy a car seat for a family in need instead of citing the child’s parents.
Officers Jason Pavlige and James Hodges of Fruitport Township, Michigan, responded to a dispatch call reporting a woman at a local McDonalds holding a baby in her arms in a car’s passenger seat.
The officers observed a minor traffic violation and pulled over the driver, also the father of the 10-month-old girl, on the violation, Hodges, 26, a nearly two-year veteran of the force, told ABC News.
When the officers spoke with the parents, who were not identified, they quickly realized they did not have the resources to purchase a car seat for their daughter.
“They had just recently moved to the area,” Hodges said. “We tried to have them contact family but they don’t have anyone close.
“There were no co-workers, no one who could help them out,” he said.
Instead of issuing the parents a citation, Pavlige and Hodges decided to take action in another way.
“We spoke with each other and made the decision to go get them a car seat so we’d know the kid was safe and that this issue wouldn’t come up again,” Hodges said.
While Pavlige stayed with the family, Hodges went to a local Walmart and purchased a new car seat with money from his and Pavlige’s own pockets. They then installed the car seat and gave the family instructions on how to properly use it.
“The father was, I think, almost in shock,” said Hodges, who declined to say how much the car seat cost. “They didn’t say much but were just very appreciative.”
Hodges and Pavlige’s good deed occurred in February but was publicized just last week after a Walmart employee called the police station to report what the officers had done.
“It was only brought to our attention by a clerk at Walmart who saw it and thought they should be recognized,” Fruitport Township Police Lt. Bruce Morningstar told ABC News. “They were doing it on their own without any recognition.”
Hodges says the incident was just another day on the job in the life of a police officer.
I wish I could agree with Hodges [no relation to me] in that this was just another day in the life of a police officer. This is not how most cops operate. Most are about issuing tickets and making arrests to generate revenue and to get promotions for meeting and exceeding their quotas. And many of them will throw in a few punches, a couple taserings, and maybe a half-dozen gunshots for good measure.
But these two police officers were exceptional. Being a cop is supposed to be about protecting and serving, and that’s what they did.