A rookie police officer in Laurel, Maryland, has captured quite a bit of attention for his kind act of mercy when he responded to a July 22 call about shoplifting — and now his good deed is inspiring others’ compassion as well.
Officer Bennett Johns arrived at a local store to find that a 20-year-old mom had been accused of trying to shoplift two packs of diapers for her baby son.
In that moment, Johns had a choice to make: He could have simply followed the law, held the woman accountable and gone on with his day, or he could have opted to go above and beyond the call. Johns chose the latter option.
“[He] considered the situation and then made the decision to purchase the diapers out of his own pocket so that the young child would not suffer,” read a post on the Laurel Police Department’s Facebook page.
But while Johns’ kind act has been making headlines, he didn’t let the woman off the hook; she had broken the law and was still issued a criminal citation. Officers later connected her with social services, where she now receives help, ABC News reported.
The cop clearly struck a balance between upholding the law and acting in kindness — something the department commended.
“We … wanted to take a moment to thank Officer Johns for not just fairly enforcing the law, but also showing empathy to an innocent child put in a difficult situation,” the Facebook post read.
In the end, media outlets picked up on the story and Johns’ kind deed inspired others to try and get involved to help as well.
In a follow-up post published on Monday, the Laurel Police Department said it has received numerous requests from members of the public who want to donate supplies and money to the woman who couldn’t afford the diapers.
Additionally, some people were so moved that they reached out to ask about reimbursing Johns for the diapers.
“Due to confidentiality, we cannot release the mother’s information,” the post read. “We also cannot accept any donations for Officer Johns.”
But instead of donations to the mother or officer, the police department referred members of the public to Laurel Advocacy & Referral Services, Inc., an organization that offers short-term financial assistance to people in need.