Here are some recent moments in which cops were widely lauded for their humanity.
On Thursday, a video was posted online showing two cops in Flagstaff, Arizona, successfully freeing a skunk’s head from a plastic yogurt container using a tarp and a little patience.
In early September, a photo of a Chicago police officer allegedly buying a meal at Chipotle for a homeless man was posted on Facebook. The photo and description has received tens of thousands of “likes” on the social media site.
“Touched my heart so much, with all the (crap) police are getting these days it reminds me there’s so much more good out there than anyone ever wants to give credit. If everyone did something simple like this every day the world would be a better place,” wrote original poster Rachel Mitchell.
Last month, the Prince George County Police Department in Maryland posted on its Facebook page photos of a police officer offering assistance to a homeless woman who had fled domestic violence abuse, along with the woman’s one-year-old daughter. The officer allegedly used his own money to rent a hotel room and buy food for the pair. He also found a car seat for the child.
“I’m a little overwhelmed and shocked. And the reason why is it didn’t seem like a big deal to me because I see other officers do stuff like this all the time,” Corporal Che Atkinson told WUSA 9. “It’s not a big deal.”
Atkinson, who said he did not know his superior officer was recording his act of kindness, was praised on Facebook for his selfless act.
“People are always putting the police officers down and complaining,” one woman wrote. “This is what our law enforcement officers do and never get the credit. I hope the woman and her child are safe and have a wonderful life all because of one act of kindness from a police officer.”
In mid-August, a Seattle police Officer Anthony Reynolds pulled a car over for running a red light and speeding. As he walked towards the car, the driver yelled that his wife was in labor. Reynolds called an ambulance, but the baby wound’t wait, as the mother can be heard screaming, “The baby’s head is out!” in the officer’s dash cam video footage of the incident.
Officer Reynolds delivered the baby girl, then helped resuscitate the baby’s breathing shortly after birth.
“After first giving a full-throated cry as she burst into the world, the young girl began struggling to breathe. With the help of the child’s mother, Officer Reynolds cleared the baby’s airway and got her breathing again,” Seattle police said.
In early August, a police officer in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, received praise for disarming a knife-wielding, suicidal man. Officer Jamie Hardy said he arrived at the man’s house after the man had called 911 to report hearing voices. Hardy said he used his de-escalation training to neutralize the man’s arms and wait for help.
“Just talk to me, OK?” Hardy can be heard in a body-camera recording. “Don’t take that knife out. No sir. I don’t want you to hurt yourself, and I don’t want you to hurt me either. Look at me, I’ve got a little kid at home, OK? I want to go home to him, OK? And I don’t want anything bad to happen to you, that’s why I’m here. So just stop, OK? Everything’s going to be OK, but I need you to take your hand off of that.”
Hardy eventually secured the knife with the help of paramedics on the scene. The man said he was grateful for Hardy’s actions, which may have saved his life.
In late July, video of an Illinois police officer helping a mentally disabled woman get to her home went viral. The short video showed a Bloomingdale Police Department officer who tracked down a 21-year-old mentally disabled woman who had wandered away from her home. The police found her walking along a roadway. Officer Giovenco escorted the calm young woman back to her home.
“You won’t ever see this kind of stuff, police doing really great things in their community, on the mainstream news channels because it doesn’t fit their agenda. Keep up the good work guys,” Brandon Kachmarik said in a comment on the department’s Facebook page.
White supremacist and Ku Klux Klan protesters demonstrated in July when South Carolina officials decided to remove the Confederate Flag from the statehouse grounds. The move followed the slaying of nine African-American parishioners in Charleston by an avowed white supremacist.
Amid the furor, Leroy Smith, a black police officer with the South Carolina Department of Public Safety who was on hand to observe the protests, assisted two white KKK supporters “who appeared to be suffering from heat-related illnesses,” the department said in a press release.
Smith assisted one of the men up the stairs to the statehouse “so he could be treated.” The moment was captured by Rob Godfrey from Governor Nikki Haley’s office and later went viral on social media, being retweeted thousands of times.
Smith said he was surprised by how the picture “has taken off and gone viral around the world.”
“Our men and women in uniform are on the front lines every day helping people – regardless of the person’s skin color, nationality or beliefs,” he said.
“As law enforcement officers, service is at the heart of what we do.”