A Maryland police officer meant to arrest a mother who allegedly stole diapers from a supermarket ended up paying for them with his own money. According to People, the struggling young mother discovered that she did not have enough money for food and diapers for her newborn and allegedly stole two packs of diapers.
She was caught by the owner of the store who called the police to arrest her.
However, Officer Bennett Johns of the Laurel Police Department, instead of taking the 20-year-old into custody, felt sympathy and paid for the diapers. The rookie officer did not arrest the young mother, but she got a criminal citation for shoplifting diapers. The woman will still need to appear in court for the misdemeanor.
Laurel Police spokeswoman, Audrey Barnes speaking to CNN revealed that the rookie officer was raised by a single mother and so empathized with the struggling woman trying to take care of her son. She went on to say that the $15 paid by the officer from the kindness of his heart for the diapers exemplified what the Laurel Maryland Police Department was trying to achieve. According to Barnes, it was all about making friends with the community without necessarily waiting for something bad to happen first.
“It’s about community policing, it’s not just about when things are tough, and you have to establish these relationships every single day. Those children, the younger ones, if we can get them engaged with our officers in a positive way, the better off our community is in the long run.”
Barnes commended Officer Bennett Johns for his thoughtfulness, adding that he did not do it for the praise, but simply because it was the right thing to do. Barnes said Johns’ gesture was not the first from the department, pointing out Laurel police officers had a penchant for good deeds after been told the importance of community policing.
Audrey Barnes divulged that the 20-year-old woman had been referred to an advocacy service that catered to underprivileged families. The police spokeswoman said it was imperative that the young mother did not “fall through the cracks.”
The Laurel Police Department in a Facebook post lauded Officer Johns actions, jokingly referencing that the trainee cop who was meant to still be in diapers put it to even better use. The post appreciated the officer for not only enforcing the law but for also showing compassion and helping out a young mother in difficult circumstances.
The police officer had been on the job for only two months.
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