Tears and a big hug af­ter cop pays for test

Herald on Sunday - - NEWS - By Natalie Akoorie

A po­lice of­fi­cer who pulled over an un­li­censed driver went the ex­tra mile when he paid for and helped the woman sit her driver li­cence test.

High­way pa­trol of­fi­cer Se­nior Con­sta­ble Neale Wil­liams pulled over the Hamilton mother in Jan­uary when he recog­nised the car she was driv­ing as one he ear­lier im­pounded.

To help get the driver back on the road legally Wil­liams acted as a reader for the woman, who did not want to be named, dur­ing her the­ory test to over­come lit­er­acy prob­lems that had held her back in the past.

And when she failed he paid for her to re­take the test im­me­di­ately — and she passed.

“The re­ward was the look on her face,” Wil­liams said. “For most peo­ple it might not be a big thing, but for her it was like win­ning Lotto.”

When Wil­liams pulled the car over last month the woman gave de­tails and was ar­rested.

It emerged she had been dis­qual­i­fied from driv­ing eight years ear­lier and had never tried to re­qual­ify be­cause she was em­bar­rassed by her prob­lems read­ing and writ­ing.

“My shift was changed so I could get there,” Wil­liams said.

“She failed with 31 out of 35 — you’re only al­lowed to get three wrong. She had clearly stud­ied, though, as the mis­takes were silly ones.

“She couldn’t af­ford to pay for the false test again so I paid for a sec­ond go. I thought if we don’t do it now it’ll go into the too-hard bas­ket. Sec­ond time she passed with room to spare.”

Wil­liams then took the woman to the Hamilton Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion and helped her with ap­peal forms for the re­turn of her im­pounded ve­hi­cle.

The woman still faces charges of driv­ing while for­bid­den and giv­ing false de­tails.

“I hope this pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence of po­lice will help her see us as ‘not the prob­lem’ and that she’ll con­tinue to take the right steps,” Wil­liams said.

Al­though the case might ap­pear triv­ial com­pared with other po­lice work, Wil­liams said it was about mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

“If we can’t in­vest a lit­tle time and ef­fort in peo­ple, what hope is there for them?”

The woman said through po­lice she has now booked the prac­ti­cal part of the re­qual­i­fi­ca­tion test for next week.

“He was so cool,” she said of Wil­liams. “I’m so thank­ful to him. I gave him a big hug and there were a cou­ple of tears.”


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