What a good cop looks like: Officer goes above and beyond for teen in troubled home.
I love this story because it’s thankfully not the kind of police-related story we so often report on around here. This isn’t a story about abuse of power or brutality; it’s a story about compassion and going above and beyond the call of duty.
This is what a good cop looks like.
Here’s the video:
A few weeks ago, 13-year-old Cameron Simmons called Sumter police because he was upset after fighting with his mom. The teenager told police he didn’t want to live in the house with his family anymore.
Officer Gaetano Acerra responded to the call.
"I said, ‘You have it good, you have a roof over your head,’" said Acerra. "I told him I would try to help him out, and here we are now."
The officer brought Simmons home, and realized the boy didn’t have a real bed. In fact, Simmons didn’t have nearly anything he needed for a bedroom.
"My heart went out for him," said Acerra. "I thought the little things that he needed I could give him, to make him a happier kid."
A few weeks after the call, Acerra showed up at Simmon’s house with a truck full of gifts.
"Bed, TV, desk, chair, a Wii game system that somebody donated to me because of the story I told them," said Acerra.
Simmons told Acerra that because of the new bed, his back won’t hurt anymore.
Simmons was sleeping on an inflatable mattress. The teenager said the mattress would slowly deflate throughout the night.
"I didn’t do this for publicity or to get people to notice me," Acerra said. "I did it because I could. It was the right thing to do and I think people should do things like this."
Officer Acerra said he has gained more than just a few pats on the back; he’s gained friend.
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We’ve said it over and over at this blog: not all cops are bad. We are certainly not anti-cop. There are plenty of good, respectful, law-abiding police officers out there. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of bad ones too.
We simply advocate that people with great amounts of authority and power be held accountable. Police have lethal amounts of power, and that power gets overused daily all across the country. It’s time for less lethal force, less militarization, and more of what Officer Acerra is doing.
Acerra seems to realize that respect for authority is something that is earned, not something that comes from instilling fear. Acerra’s actions are the kind of thing that might actually change a bad neighborhood into a good one.