Gen­er­ous of­fi­cer

She says her job is to care for those in the com­mu­nity, ‘not just ... ar­rest peo­ple’

Houston Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By Vic­to­ria Cheyne

A chance en­counter at a north Hous­ton Wal­mart on Tues­day evening re­sulted in an act of kind­ness by a po­lice of­fi­cer that typ­i­cally goes un­her­alded.

A chance en­counter at a North Hous­ton Wal­mart on Tues­day evening re­sulted in an act of kind­ness that typ­i­cally goes un­her­alded.

Hous­ton Po­lice of­fi­cer Kirsten Ko­ryciak was off duty but fill­ing in for an­other of­fi­cer at an ex­tra job when she spot­ted a cus­tomer walk back into the store after leav­ing ear­lier with his gro­ceries.

She no­ticed the man’s arm was freshly ban­daged and asked him what hap­pened.

He said that he had a di­a­betic episode in the park­ing lot, caus­ing him to col­lapse and need med­i­cal as­sis­tance. While he was be­ing treated by medics, his unat­tended gro­ceries were stolen.

At an after­noon news con­fer­ence, Ko­ryciak said her bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther has Type 1 ddi­a­betes and her great­grand­mother also suf­fered from the dis­ease. As a con­se­quence, she un­der­stands the de­mands of the ill­ness and em­pathized with the un­named cus­tomer. To his ap­par­ent sur­prise, she of­fered to buy new gro­ceries for him.

Ko­ryciak said part of her job “is to care about peo­ple and to help peo­ple. I’m not just here to ar­rest peo­ple. I do care about this com­mu­nity.”

The rookie of­fi­cer said she re­lates to the cus­tomer in an­other way; he told Ko­ryciak he

has a low in­come. Ko­ryciak said she re­calls times in her own life when she and her spouse were pinch­ing pen­nies, try­ing to pro­vide for their chil­dren.

“I would do it again in a heart­beat,” Ko­ryciak said of her ges­ture.

She pur­chased about $25 worth of gro­ceries for the man. He needed veg­eta­bles, oat­meal, med­i­ca­tion and other ba­sic items — all things Ko­ryciak said a di­a­betic re­quires to main­tain good health.

She hasn’t spo­ken to the grate­ful cus­tomer since, but Ko­ryciak said he thanked her upon leav­ing the store and his re­sponse was “heart­warm­ing.”

Wal­mart’s sur­veil­lance footage was viewed to iden­tify the cul­prit who stole the gro­ceries, but the of­fi­cer said there was a vis­ual ob­struc­tion in the footage. Po­lice are still look­ing into the mat­ter.

The of­fi­cer de­scribed the man as be­ing in his 50s or 60s and plainly dressed. To her knowl­edge, he rode a train to the Wal­mart store.

Po­lice of­ten per­form acts not typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with law en­force­ment.

Even though she grad­u­ated from the academy just last year, Ko­ryciak is no ex­cep­tion. She said she pre­vi­ously has per­formed sim­i­lar acts of kind­ness in uni­form and urged peo­ple to get in­volved when they see some­body be­ing taken ad­van­tage of.

“Don’t just stand there and watch it or video­tape it,” she said. “Un­for­tu­nately a lot of peo­ple nowa­days like to just video­tape and not ac­tu­ally do any­thing about it, and I think that’s wrong. You have to treat peo­ple like if they were your own fam­ily.”

“I’m not just here to ar­rest peo­ple. I do care about this com­mu­nity.” Kirsten Ko­ryciak, HPD of­fi­cer


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