Police lines have made headlines, with the actions of some officers becoming front page fodder. But there are other "back page" stories — stories I have personally told over the years, about officers who go above and beyond. And although these stories are far less touted, they are equally reflective of the men and women who serve.
These are the officers who take time to play basketball with the neighborhood kids; mow grass for senior citizens; and give rides to people in need, either home from work … or much further.
A couple years ago, Officer Jeff Turney responded to a call in Glendale, Arizona from the family of a 94-year-old man who was about to drive himself 2,000 miles to Florida. Turney shut that down ... then took a week of vacation to see he got there safely.
Then there's Brian Grigsby and Troy Dillard, of Little Rock, Arkansas, who found an Alzheimer's patient out wandering.
"I mean, he was pretty adamant," said Dillard.
"He wasn't going home until he got those flowers," Grigsby said. Flowers? "That's what he wanted. He wanted flowers for his wife because tomorrow was Mother's Day."
So, instead of driving the man right home, they took him to a shop, and even helped pay.
"We had to get those flowers," Grigsby said. "We had to get them. I didn't have a choice!"
I also met Pittsburgh detective Jack Mook, who came across two brothers at a boxing gym. Mook said they were being abused and neglected by their foster parents. "They have had it as worse as any other kid that's ever lived in the city of Pittsburgh, living conditions-wise. And that's just, I had enough of it."
So, this bachelor cop adopted them.
And finally, Denver Police Officers Monique Sedberry and Alicia Martinez, who were called to a school one day.
"This was one of the tougher calls for us," said Sedberry. "His teacher had called 911, saying that he was being bullied and he wanted to end his life."
Not only did they help Victor Jiron in that moment, they formed an everlasting bond.
"He's like our family; he's like our little brother," Sedberry said.
Hartman asked Jiron, "Is it helpful to you that they've stayed in your life?"
"Yeah, every time I wanted to talk to them, they would answer," he replied.
"They'd be there?"
This is what's possible when a police badge is worn over a loving heart.
These are the results when officers choose to draw their most disarming weapon: compassion.
Story produced by Michelle Kessel. Editor: Mike Levine.