Officers help woman, young child in need
Deputy, La Plata policeman find shelter for couple
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.”
Pfc. John Campbell of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office in front of his police cruiser.
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.