A young mother had just gotten in line to buy groceries and other supplies. Unfortunately, she didn’t have enough money left over to purchase her infant son’s diapers. Moments later, security officers with the Laurel supermarket caught the woman attempting to shoplift the diapers from the retail establishment. Laurel Police confirmed that the contents were worth about $15 in total.
When Officer Bennett Johns arrived on the scene, he took unique action. Instead of putting the woman in cuffs, he went ahead and purchased the diapers for her using his own money. Laurel police put a message on their Facebook page Saturday praising and belittling the officer as well.
“Though we often joke that our field trainees are still in diapers, it turns out that rookie Officer Jones was not buying these for himself.” A photo of Johns buying the diapers accompanied the post. Johns came to the conclusion that the woman was struggling to provide for her infant son. The woman’s name has been withheld.
Johns himself grew up with a single mother and hoped their small gesture would give the child a better life. Laurel Police spokeswoman Audrey Barnes spoke about the gesture. “Just out of personal kindness, he decided to go ahead and buy them. It speaks to the heart of what community policing is all about.”
Barnes confirmed that Johns’ actions fall in line with the department’s goals of establishing meaningful relationships with the residents that they serve and protect. In the Facebook post, the department thanked Officer Johns for his efforts.
While the woman was not transported to jail that day, she was issued a citation for theft and therefore will need to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge. Subsequently, the woman has been referred to an advocacy service that aids struggling families in the community.