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Constable Karl’s good deed

If you needed a reminder that there are good people in the world, and that some of them become cops, I hope by now you’ve seen a story out of New Zealand about a dispatcher and police officer who answered when a 4-year-old boy called.

If you haven’t, according to the Associated Press, a dispatcher answered a call as she would have any other: “This is police, where is the emergency?”

After a pause, the young boy hesitantly says, “Hi,” and then “Police lady?”

“Yes,” the dispatcher says, switching to the tone many of us use when speaking with small children. “What’s going on?”

“Um, can I tell you something?” the boy asks, and after being told he can, says “I’ve got some toys for you.”

“You’ve got some toys for me?” says the dispatcher.

“Yep. Come over and see them,” the boy replies.

After that, the boy’s father realizes what is happening, picks up the phone and lets the dispatcher know the call was a mistake, made by a boy who had been “helping” while his mother was sick. But the wheels of a good deed had already been set in motion. Dispatch sent out the address anyway saying “There is a 4-year-old there who is wanting to show police his toys, over.” “Yeah, I’m one-up, I’ll attend to,” responds an officer.

Constable Kurt then responded to the scene and was, indeed, shown a variety of cool toys. He said he also had a “good, educational chat” about the proper use of 111 (remember, this is New Zealand).

“He did have cool toys,” Constable Kurt reported back after attending the callout, according to police. They added that: “The lucky kid also got to see the patrol car and the officer put the lights on for him, too.”

The educational chat was important of course. You can’t have every youngster with cool toys calling the police (although they’d probably be a lot happier to be swamped with those kinds of calls than most of what they have to deal with).

But just as important was the reminder that by and large law enforcement officers are people who take their jobs as guardians of our communities very seriously. They really do want to protect and serve, and part of that service sometimes involves letting young people know they matter and are seen.

In a job like mine I’ve had the opportunity to meet plenty of law enforcement officers. They’re humans — just like those filling every other profession. No, they aren’t saints. None of us are, despite what a few folks might think of themselves. But, generally speaking, they are good people who try to do their jobs well. Yes, there are a few bad apples once in a while — again, just like in every other profession.

The difference is the vast majority of other professions don’t involve the kinds of pressures law enforcement officers face. Still, they choose to do it. Every day.

And once in a while, they get to see some cool toys. Or play basketball with a group of young people. Or let an unsuspecting driver off with a warning after telling that driver he or she has a headlight out, or expired registration.

Constable Kurt may have provided an example from the other side of the globe, but his heart for serving his community is the same as in most officers here in the Mid-Ohio Valley and everywhere. Thank goodness.

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Christina Myer is executive editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. She can be reached via e-mail at cmyer@newsandsentinel.com

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