Of­fi­cers help woman, young child in need

Deputy, La Plata po­lice­man find shel­ter for cou­ple

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

Two lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cers re­cently went above and be­yond the call of duty to help a dis­tressed woman and her young child who had been stranded with­out shel­ter on a rainy night.

Around mid­night on July 30, Pfc. John Camp­bell of the Charles County Sheriff’s Of­fice had been on rou­tine pa­trol when he no­ticed a woman and her two–year–old son hud­dled un­der­neath an awning to avoid the rain near the La Plata shop­ping cen­ter. Of­fi­cer Philip Thomp­son of the La Plata Town Po­lice was in close prox­im­ity and ar­rived shortly there­after to see what was go­ing on.

As they ap­proached, the woman be­gan to walk away with her child, but soon re­al­ized the of­fi­cers were only there to help.

“It had been a hot week; it was a hot even­ing and it was rain­ing pe­ri­od­i­cally,” re­called Camp­bell, who be­gan talk­ing with the woman to find out her sit­u­a­tion and found out that she did not have any­where to stay that night. “She had a job; the baby wasn’t in any im­mi­nent danger; the baby was fed. I of­fered to get her some­thing to eat and she re­fused. She was very de­ter­mined, just down on her luck.”

They learned that she had been mov­ing from place to place and had been re­ceiv­ing as­sis­tance from var­i­ous state pro­grams, but she was out of re­sources for the rest of the month. She in­formed them that they would have a place to stay in the morn­ing and was plan­ning to spend the night out­side un­til then.

How­ever, the two of­fi­cers had some­thing else in mind. Af­ter giv­ing her a ride to a nearby ho­tel, Camp­bell and Thomp­son went into their own pocket to split the cost of a room for them.

“We went down to the ho­tel,” Camp­bell said. “We got her a room. She was very, very thank­ful. In her eyes and in the way she said it. Her child was very happy ... It made my night, ac­tu­ally prob­a­bly made my month.”

It was an easy de­ci­sion for Camp­bell, a mil­i­tary vet­eran who was de­ployed to Iraq and helped pro­tect pres­i­dents Ge­orge W. Bush and Barack Obama as well as other mem­bers of the Ex­ec­u­tive Branch and var­i­ous for­eign dig­ni­taries be­fore join­ing the sheriff’s of­fice in 2009.

“I’m not al­low­ing a 2– year–old to sleep on the street, not on my watch,” Camp­bell added. “Ev­ery­one has a time in their lives where it just doesn’t work out and need help. And it’s part of my job to help peo­ple out when I can. And plus, it’s just so re­ward­ing, to help peo­ple out like that. It re­ally is re­ward­ing.”

Thomp­son, who be­came a po­lice of­fi­cer last Au­gust, felt the same way as Camp­bell.

“Bot­tom­line is, she needs a place to stay and we were happy to help her out,” he said. “Right here, right now.”

“At the end of the day, this job is about help­ing peo­ple,” Thomp­son con­tin­ued. “This was an op­por­tu­nity to meet some­one’s need and I’m priv­i­leged to have been a part of it … Any op­por­tu­nity to meet some­one’s need in the midst of my job is a gift from the Lord.”

The of­fi­cers kind­ness was also ac­knowl­edged in a Face­book post shared by the sheriff’s of­fice and La Plata Town Po­lice.

“… Their com­pas­sion demon­strates not only great po­lice work, but also good cit­i­zen­ship and what it means to care about peo­ple,” the sheriff’s of­fice wrote in the post. “We are proud of Pfc. Camp­bell and Of­fi­cer Thomp­son and their com­mit­ment to mak­ing this com­mu­nity a bet­ter place, and we are thank­ful to the La Plata Po­lice De­part­ment for their out­stand­ing part­ner­ship and team­work.”

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF THE CHARLES COUNTY SHERIFF’S OF­FICE

Pfc. John Camp­bell of the Charles County Sheriff’s Of­fice in front of his po­lice cruiser.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF LA PLATA TOWN PO­LICE

La Plata Town Po­lice of­fi­cer Philip Thomp­son, who helped a woman and child in need by split­ting the cost of a ho­tel room with Pfc. John Camp­bell of the Charles County Sheriff’s Of­fice.

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