I just read an article from The Union Leader about a police officer who was recognized for his kindness with a homeless man. Instead of arresting the man for stealing four sandwiches, the officer went back to the store and paid for them and asked to not press charges. He was familiar with the man and knew his story. He understands that times have been tough for him. The charges were dropped.
A quote from Officer Jeffrey Wholley in the story really gets to me: “The truly sincere people, I have no problem helping out at all.”
Police are known to harass the homeless. And they do! But, IMHO, they generally only do when individuals routinely cause problems. Comply with the laws, social norms and respect, don’t be loud and obnoxious, the police won’t “bother” you. They will actually socialize with and almost befriend you. Cops aren’t out to look for who they can harass today. Well, not normally. Unfortunately though, I have seen and experienced just that. So it does happen. But most of the time they are hoping for a “quiet” day so they can be readily available for any serious emergency that comes up.
I don’t want to forget the store in this article. They rewarded the officer, the local food pantry, Salvation Army, and others because of this officer’s generousity for not arresting the man and choosing to feed him instead. 🙂