A Maryland police officer went above and beyond the call of duty when he purchased diapers for a woman accused of stealing them.
Rookie Officer Bennett Johns of the Laurel Police Department responded to a call at a local grocery store this weekend after a woman was accused of stealing $15 worth of diapers, the department said in a Facebook post.
The woman told Johns that she had purchased some groceries but did not have enough to buy the two packs of diapers she needed for her 2-year-old son.
Johns issued the woman a criminal citation for the theft, but told Fox 32 that he still wanted to help her out.
“This mother was going out of her way and doing everything she can to provide for her kid and I can respect that,” he told the TV station. “I can sympathize with that as well so that is why I felt compelled to help the mother in purchasing the diapers for the kid.”
Laurel Police Chief Richard McLaughlin applauded his police officer, saying that this was the kind of community policing his department aspires to do on a daily basis.
“I’m very proud of my officers,” he said. “All of my officers and particularly this one. I think it speaks volumes that they are doing the right thing for the right reason when nobody is watching.”
The police department shared a photo of Johns purchasing the diapers.
“Though it's but a snapshot of some of the work your officers are doing daily, we still 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 post read.
Johns said the woman’s struggle reflected much of his own upbringing.
“I see [the toddler] and I see myself growing up with a single mother and I want him to have a better life, too,” he said.