Two Michigan police officers are being hailed for making the decision to buy a car seat for a family in need instead of citing the child's parents.
Officers Jason Pavlige and James Hodges of Fruitport Township, Michigan, responded to a dispatch call reporting a woman at a local McDonalds holding a baby in her arms in a car’s passenger seat.
The officers observed a minor traffic violation and pulled over the driver, also the father of the 10-month-old girl, on the violation, Hodges, 26, a nearly two-year veteran of the force, told ABC News.
When the officers spoke with the parents, who were not identified, they quickly realized they did not have the resources to purchase a car seat for their daughter.
“They had just recently moved to the area,” Hodges said. “We tried to have them contact family but they don’t have anyone close.
“There were no co-workers, no one who could help them out,” he said.
Instead of issuing the parents a citation, Pavlige and Hodges decided to take action in another way.
“We spoke with each other and made the decision to go get them a car seat so we’d know the kid was safe and that this issue wouldn’t come up again,” Hodges said.
While Pavlige stayed with the family, Hodges went to a local Walmart and purchased a new car seat with money from his and Pavlige’s own pockets. They then installed the car seat and gave the family instructions on how to properly use it.
“The father was, I think, almost in shock,” said Hodges, who declined to say how much the car seat cost. “They didn’t say much but were just very appreciative.”
Hodges and Pavlige’s good deed occurred in February but was publicized just last week after a Walmart employee called the police station to report what the officers had done.
“It was only brought to our attention by a clerk at Walmart who saw it and thought they should be recognized,” Fruitport Township Police Lt. Bruce Morningstar told ABC News. “They were doing it on their own without any recognition.”
Hodges says the incident was just another day on the job in the life of a police officer.
“We made the decision that was what we needed to do to solve the issue,” Hodges said. “When we left we went onto the next call.”
“It’s just part of what police officers do on a daily basis,” he said.