Charity Not Charges: Good Samaritan Cops


With all the reports about police acting outside the law and using excessive force, it’s comforting to hear that there are a number of ‘good guy’ police who will go to extra lengths to help those in need.

Earlier this week, a Kansas police officer made headlines around the world after he decided not to charge a woman for stealing clothes and groceries from her local Walmart.

Mark Engravelle arrived on the scene intending to arrest the shoplifter, but realising that she was a single mum struggling to make ends meet, he decided not to press charges, instead issuing her with a ticket for misdemeanour for theft.

Constable Engraville then went the extra mile and purchased the items for the woman and her kids, as well as some extras to help them in the long run.

It turned out that the woman had been struggling after the death of her husband last year – and she had run out of people to ask for help.

Readers around the world have applauded the cop for his generosity and kindness – and his willingness to put the law to one side in exceptional circumstances.

Cops Help Those in Need

The story is the latest in a number of incidents involving police who have chosen not to prosecute vulnerable people for minor infringements.

In February this year, Texas police officers were called to a park where a passerby had reported a suspicious looking vehicle. But when police arrived, they found a young couple sleeping in the car with their baby daughter.

It transpired that the young family was homeless and in the process of getting back on their feet. Instead of arresting and charging them, the officers generously paid for a hotel room for the night.

Police posted a message about the story on their Facebook page, which was soon inundated with messages from members of the public wanting to lend a hand to the family.

Soon, donations of food, clothing, homewares and other items came flooding in.

In another story, Michigan police officers were alerted to an incident of a child riding in a car unrestrained. Police stopped the family and realised that they were struggling and simply could not afford a car seat.

Instead of adding to the family’s worries, the officers did not issue a ticket or call child services, but chose instead to purchase and install a brand-new baby seat.

Other Good Deeds

While political rhetoric focus on police prosecuting ‘criminals’, it is important to note that policing also involves helping those in difficult situations.

In March this year, a NSW police officer won praise after he bravely saved a couple from drowning in dangerous seas off the NSW North Coast.

The pair had been rock fishing without life jackets when the woman was swept into the sea.

Her friend jumped in to try and save her, but soon found himself in trouble.

Thankfully, a team of officers were in the area and came to the rescue, with one officer jumping in and keeping the pair afloat for 40 minutes.

They were later winched to safety, and the police officer was duly recognised for his bravery.

And it’s not just human police officers that lend a hand in desperate times – earlier this year, a NSW Police dog found and saved a 65-year-old man who went missing from an aged care facility.

Police and staff feared the worst after a search of nearby streets yielded nothing – but Police Dog Marco soon located the man clinging to a tree branch near a river.

If it had not been for the intervention of these brave officers, those in trouble may not have lived to tell their tale.

Although criminal defence lawyers and police are often seen at on the opposite ends of the criminal justice spectrum, it’s important to recognise the efforts of those who perform charitable and brave acts for the community.


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About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers, Sydney's leading firm of criminal and traffic defence lawyers.
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