It started out as a simple call, the kind cops roll on untold times in a career. However, when Orem, Utah, officers responded to a report of shoplifting, they didn’t find teens out for a thrill, or budding criminals trying to score something they could sell. Instead, they found a desperate mother just trying to provide for her children. That’s when these officers decided to take “protect and serve” to a whole new level.
The call was reported in late November. When officers responded, they found Rebecca Freemont — a single mother with young children — had allegedly taken food to feed her kids. “This [theft] was totally different [from most cases]. It wasn’t Bluetooth speakers, it wasn’t things that are luxuries,” Officer Jared Goulding told ABC News affiliate KTVX-TV.
The officers took an interest in Freemont after they visited her home in a low-income housing project. No televisions, no decorations on the walls, not much at all. “The only thing, as far as decoration, was a picture of a Christmas tree that it looked like the kids had kind of colored on and decorated to decorate their Christmas tree,” Goulding said.
It made an impression on Officer Goulding, who started a “sub-for-Santa” project to try and help out the Freemont family. Donations of money and furniture were collected among the officers for the struggling single mother.
Then, KTVX reported on the officer’s efforts. That’s when things got even more interesting. That was when cards and still more money began pouring in.
Before long, the officers were able to buy the impoverished family a real Christmas tree, presents for the kids, and more than enough groceries to prevent another incident like the one that brought the family to the officers’ attention in the first place.
While police officers make headlines when they make mistakes, plenty of caring cops are doing right by their communities in helping out the downtrodden. In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Officer Michael Kotsonis also responded to a shoplifting call. In that case, the mother had stolen the ingredients to make her child a birthday cake. Kotsonis paid for the ingredients himself. Last year, Officer Mark Engravale paid for the diapers and shoes a single mother attempted to shoplift from a Walmart in Roland Park, Kansas.
So, while some people are yelling about how cops are evil, it’s good to remember that — in almost all cases — they really are the good guys.