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December 26, 2012

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Police Officers Demonstrate Compassion to Those in Need

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Police Officers Demonstrate Compassion to Those in Need

A Dallas-area police officer is being hailed for his compassionate response to a man he stopped for a traffic violation. The Plano, Texas, officer, who wishes to remain anonymous, pulled over 25-year-old Hayden Carlo because the car he was driving had an expired registration. But as reported by CBS News, Carlo explained to the policeman that he was struggling financially and he could not afford to register his vehicle and feed his family, so he let the registration lapse.

“I said there’s no explanation for why I haven’t done it, except I don’t have the money,” recalled Carlo. “It was either feed my kids or get my registration done.”

After Carlo’s explanation, the officer stepped back to his squad car, coming back with a citation for the lapsed registration. But that wasn’t all. When Carlo opened up the ticket, he discovered a $100 bill tucked inside. “I broke down in my car,” Carlos said. “What else could I do?”

Not surprisingly, the officer never told anyone about his act of compassion. But Carlo’s grandfather, Billy McIntire, was so moved by policeman’s kindness that he wrote a letter to the Plano police department to thank the officer. “I get emotional when we talk about this type of thing,” McIntire told CBS News. “You just don’t find that many officers who would do this type of thing.”

A Plano police department spokesman said the officer “told me … this man needed [the money] more than him, and it was the right thing to do.”

CBS News reported that with the $100 gift, Carlo was able to update the registrations on his car and his wife’s car, too. “He helped me out when I needed it and I appreciate that,” Carlo said. “I’ll never forget that man. It definitely restored my faith in God.”

This is the second time in recent memory that the media has noted the compassionate response of a law enforcement officer. Last month the New York Times carried a heart-warming story that began: “On a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The officer disappeared for a moment, then returned with a new pair of boots, and knelt to help the man put them on.”

The Times went on to explain that the act of kindness would have remained random and unknown, except that a tourist visiting from Arizona saw what was happening, took a photo of the action, and posted it to the NYPD’s Facebook page.

Jennifer Foster of Florence, Arizona, who was visiting Times Square with her family that night on November 14, recalled that she and her husband saw a homeless man asking for change. “Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him,” Foster wrote in her Facebook post to the NYPD. “The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man.” Foster added that the officer “expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching.”

While the officer may have wished to remain unknown, the Times reported that two weeks after the incident, the Facebook post “had been viewed 1.6 million times, and had attracted nearly 275,000 ‘likes’ and more than 16,000 comments — a runaway hit for a Police Department that waded warily onto the social media platform this summer with mostly canned photos of gun seizures, award ceremonies, and the police commissioner.”

The 25-year-old Officer DePrimo, who lives with his parents, recalled that on the night of his good deed “it was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet. I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.”

As he spoke with the homeless man, DePrimo found that the man wore a size 12 shoe. As the homeless man walked slowly down the street on his heels, DePrimo went into a nearby shoe store, where he purchased a $100 pair of all-weather boots. “We were just kind of shocked,” Jose Cano, an employee at the shoe store, told the Times. “Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.”

Cano ended up giving DePrimo his employee discount, which brought the price of the boots down to $75. The officer said he has since kept the receipt for the boots in his vest, “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse.”

Foster, who works for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, wrote in the NYPD Facebook post that she has been in law enforcement for 17 years but “I was never so impressed in my life…. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work.”

The Times noted that the incident resonated with Foster “for personal reasons: She remembered as a young girl seeing her father, a 32-year veteran of the Phoenix police force, buy food for a homeless man.”

A follow-up story from the New York Times noted that just days after DePrimo’s self-sacrificial effort, the homeless man, now identified as Jeffrey Hillman, was spotted roaming the streets of New York City’s Upper West Side — again with no shoes. Asked why he wasn’t wearing the warm boots the officer had purchased for him, Hillman, who has been homeless for most of a decade, explained that he had hidden them out of fear. “They are worth a lot of money,” he told the Times. “I could lose my life.”

As for Officer DePrimo, the effort was just another day on the beat. Regardless of what Hillman did with the boots, DePrimo recalled him as “the most polite gentleman I had met.” While the officer offered to buy Hillman a cup of coffee that night, “as soon as the boots were on him, he went on his way, and I just went back to my post.”

Photo: NYPD’s Facebook page


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