What’s the sign of a good community? A group of people who look out for each other. Maybe it’s helping to fix something or to put back someone’s trashcan when they’re not home. Maybe it’s raking leaves or checking on someone’s house when they’re away on vacation. Maybe it is a first responder who is offering their assistance when they get a call.
Whatever the form of helping out a neighbor takes, it is almost always welcomed because it makes a stronger community. In one neighborhood in Albany, NY this turned out to be just the case when an elderly resident needed help during a huge snowstorm.
More Snow Than Anyone Expected
Residents knew that a storm was coming just after the Thanksgiving Holiday. While they expected a fair dusting of fluffy white snow, they were surprised when more than 22 inches piled up on their sidewalks, driveways, backyards, and roads. The storm was so intense that the National Weather service ranked it as the 8th biggest in the area’s history.
The Police Were There To Help
Naturally, the police and other first responders received their fair share of calls for help after such a big dumping of powder. One of the calls they received was from a 99-year-old woman who lived alone and realized that she couldn’t clear the snow from her driveway all on her own.
While clearing snow is typically not part of a police officer’s duties, helping a community member in need is. Once they received the call, Albany police officers William Pierce, Christopher Stiles, and John Schueler responded with snow shovels. The three men worked through the snow with their uniforms on and their badges shining until the woman’s sidewalks, driveway, and porch were cleared.
Facebook Fans Praised The Officers
Thanks to the police department’s public information office, photos of the three officers made it to Facebook where they were quickly shared more than 6,000 times in the month following the incident. Here’s a copy of the post:
Fans on the social media accounts praised the officers. Follower Jenny Ann Collins remarked on how what the officers did was actually responding to a public safety issue because “living alone at 99 is never safe when snowed in.” Another follower, Mirium Ortiz, simply commented, “Thank you. Such a beautiful example of a caring community.”
The police’s public information office responded to all the well wishes with words of gratitude in return. According to officer and spokesperson Steve Smith, all of Albany’s officers are “always going to be there to help the community in any way they can.”
Albany Officers Are No Stranger To Works Of Community Service
It’s not really a surprise that the three officers were willing to stop what they were doing during a busy storm to help the woman out. The police force includes regular acts of community service as part of their culture. During the Thanksgiving holiday just before the storm, officers delivered more than 500 meals to homebound residents. The effort provides officers with another opportunity to get to know residents on a one to one basis.
Direct community interactions, whenever and however they happen, are something that most departments aspire to doing. In fact, another notable example comes from Canada where officers hilariously entertained other community members by joining a lip synching contest. Those kinds of interactions are important because they foster connections between police and residents, ultimately building a stronger community while preventing problems. And isn’t that a key part of what good police work is all about?
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