Thursday, February 24, 2011

Officers help single mom get back on her feet

Today I presented a Special Unit Citation to a group of officers from the North Patrol Division for their outstanding work helping a woman who was very down on her luck. Here's their story:

Officers Linda Walker and J.D. Pettey knew something was fishy about the repeated calls they received to a Northland apartment to meet Family Services and check the welfare of children there. Officers got called there nearly 20 times between March and August 2010.

The children – ages 2, 4, 5 and 7 – were always fine, so the officers asked their mother, Nicole, what was going on. She said her husband had left and was repeatedly reporting her to the Division of Family Services and police. He also had taken everything, including all the furniture, linens, personal items and the children’s clothes. Officer Walker and Pettey informed their sector of the problem, and the officers realized the husband was trying to harass Nicole by repeatedly calling the child welfare agencies. He also had filed a petition saying the children’s babysitter was dangerous.

The officers went to court on behalf of Nicole during the case. Officer Pettey gave the judge documentation from all the calls for service to the residence, and the judge denied the husband’s petition. But the officers knew Nicole needed more than legal help. In addition to the four children, she was pregnant with a fifth, and they had little more than the clothes on their backs. They had just one bed among the five of them.

Officers Pettey, Walker, James Green and Doug Hopper got Hillcrest Thrift to donate several outfits for the children, some furniture and a gift card. Officer Walker and her neighbors donated several sacks of groceries and hygiene products. Officer Green worked with his church to get a $200 gift card to Wal-Mart to buy school supplies, underwear, shoes and one toy for each child as well as sheets and towels. Wal-Mart also gave them a 10 percent discount. Officer Pettey and his wife, Officer Tina Connor-Pettey, donated a day bed and mattress. Over the next two weeks in July 2010, the officers gathered more donations of groceries, toys and other goods for the family and helped them get back on their feet.

The officers have checked on Nicole and her children from time to time since then. She is no longer being harassed, and the children are adjusting and doing well. Major Vince Cannon said, “These officers’ display of compassion both on and off duty is a true example of how we have embraced the community.”

Send comments to