A call from dispatch on July 24 led to Officer John Nissen and his partner-in-training to respond to a reportedly distressed driver pulled over on I-65 in Hillview, Kentucky. They didn’t know what would be waiting for them when they got there.
“All we knew from the dispatch call was that there was a woman who was crying and needed help in her car. She opened the door for us when we approached, and I could see she was visibly upset,” said Nissen in an interview with People.
Nissen found an extremely distraught Barbie Henderson sitting in her car in need of assistance.
“Out of safety, I asked if I could talk with her and see if I could get her cooled down a bit,” he said. “I turned the air vents towards her – it was over 90 degrees that day – held her hand, and she cried on my shoulder. I had her take sips of water.”
Henderson had been driving along Interstate 65 when she received a phone call informing her that her sister had died. Henderson was so overcome by the news that she didn’t know what to do, so she called 911.
“I couldn’t concentrate or anything. I was so upset, screaming and hollering,” said Henderson in an interview with Wave3 News.
“I wanted her to feel treated the way I would want my family treated,” said Nissen, according to the Daily Mail.
Officer Nissen sat with Henderson, finding out from her that her sister had passed away, and he communicated with Henderson’s family to arrange for them to pick her up.
Henderson’s other sister, Sondra Barlow, soon arrived at the scene and found something that she had not anticipated, something so unexpected that it moved her to post it on the Hillview Police Department Facebook page.
“As she cried, he listen to her and wiped away her tears. He made sure she drank water as it was extremely hot outside, and he spoke to the family each time we called until my arrival. When I arrived he wasn’t standing on the side of the car. He was seated right next to her just as we would’ve been while she was grieving. What an awesome guy.”
“He was family,” said Barlow. “I mean, he was the one who sat there with her when she was crying about losing our sister.”
Officer Nissen’s act of kindness is one that is in stark contrast to many recent reports in the media of negative police response to the public. Nissen’s patience and professionalism in Henderson’s time of need will not soon be forgotten by her family.
“Sometimes the very people you least expect to care are the ones who will,” said Barlow in her Facebook post. “During a time we hear so many negative things about the police, I want the world to know my Police Officers care!!!”
Officer Nissen is a 17-year veteran of the police force. His choice to care for Henderson in the manner that he did, at a time when she needed it most, shows that at least in some circumstances, an officer’s most valuable weapons may be experience, patience, and compassion.
[Image via Facebook]