Boynton Beach, Fla. Officers Take a Turn as Santa
By Ken K. Gourdin
Wondering what to write about next to keep my streak of writing about the good that comes during the Christmas season alive, (and, while I’m at it, wanting to continue the theme from my last post of good turns by law enforcement this time of year) I Googled the terms “Christmas” and “police,” which returned the story of two Boynton Beach, Fla. police officers who visited a home after being dispatched there on a 911 hangup call.
There was no emergency – at least, not an emergency in the conventional sense, and not one involving the urgent circumstances that officers are so accustomed to handling. The unfortunate truth is that while family discord is not uncommon throughout the year, such strife is especially common around the holidays, when frayed family ties and the added pressure of unfulfilled holiday expectations tend to magnify family resentments.
But, no, there was no family dispute, just a toddler playing with a phone. However, the officers looked around the house and noted dire circumstances which, while they were not emergent, were dire for another reason: the house was devoid of Christmas trappings. An older child conveyed the message to these officers (if not in so many words) that due to the family’s limited resources they would not be celebrating Christmas this year. The officers could have left the home, ruefully agreeing among themselves that such a state of affairs truly was unfortunate, especially for the home’s youngest occupants. They did much more than that.
News of such deeds as those performed by these Boynton Beach officers is especially poignant in light of the demonstrations against law enforcement that have been happening in Ferguson, Mo. and in New York following the refusals of grand juries to indict officers in both jurisdictions for their respective roles in the deaths of two unarmed black men.
As the generosity of these officers shows, most police officers are not that much different from you and me. See video and an Internet page detailing the officers’ good deeds here (last accessed December 4, 2014): http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/florida-police-officers-surprise-family-christmas-tree/story?id=27339831.
Yes, it is tragic that Eric Garner and Michael Brown are not alive to celebrate another Christmas with their families this year. However, most all officers don’t want to use deadly force, and would prefer to avoid it wherever possible. They simply want to be able to go home to their families at the end of their shift.