Two Texas police officers have received praise after they made a judgment call to buy car seats for a father instead of ticketing him during a recent traffic stop.
On Saturday, Officer Justin Gower of the Cedar Park Police Department pulled over the truck because it apparently had expired registration and a malfunctioning light, according to local television station KVUE.
As Gower spoke to the driver, he saw three little girls sitting in the back without car seats. He suddenly recalled hearing about the man from other law enforcement personnel, the station reported.
Gower called another Cedar Park policeman, Officer Cale Hawkins, who had spoken with the father several weeks ago. Hawkins told the station they were living in a hotel at the time, according to the TV station.
Recognizing the family was down on their luck, Gower and Hawkins decided to buy the girls — ages 1, 3 and 4 — car seats instead of ticketing the father.
“Giving him three tickets, it wasn’t going to do any good,” Gower told KVUE. “Those kids were still going to have to be driven somewhere, somehow with no car seats.”
Said Hawkins: “We just kind of stepped off to the side and said we need to kind of do the right thing and get these people some car seats.”
As Gower spoke with the driver, Hawkins drove to Wal-Mart and purchased three car seats that totaled $145, according to the TV station. They then presented them to the family.
The unidentified father thanked the officers in a statement, which was released by the station.
“It was nothing short of a miracle. It was something that was really needed,” he said. “The officers have been a blessing.”
The department on Thursday responded after the story gained nationwide attention.
“We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from all of you about K9 Officer Justin Gower and Officer Cale Hawkins’ decision to purchase car seats for the three little girls who were in the back seat when Officer Gower made that traffic stop last Saturday,” the post stated.
The entire shift chipped in to buy the seats, according to the post.
It continued, “We also want to mention that this behavior is reflective of not only Cedar Park Police Officers, but police officers throughout our country who do things like this each day. We are honored to wear a badge and even more so to serve this community.”