MIAMI- With all of the national news about how the interaction of police and criminals can end tragically or controversially, the story of a local police officer's kindness serves as a reminder that kindness and compassion exists.
A Miami police officer took it upon himself to help a criminal he had just arrested, according to Miami Police Sergeant Jason Arnold.
On Nov.12, Officer Derek Sparks arrested a man reported by an asset protection employee at a local retail store to have stolen a pair of shoes.
According to the police incident report, Sparks was dispatched to the Miami store where the employee told Sparks she observed three men she recognized and who had previously attempted to shoplift from the store, enter the store.
The employee told police the three men went to the shoe department where one man took off a pair of slippers he was wearing and put on a pair of shoes from the store. The man then walked out of the store without paying for the shoes and was stopped by store employees for shoplifting.
Officer Sparks arrived at the store and arrested the man and transported him to the Ottawa County Jail. The man appeared in Miami Municipal Court on Nov. 17 and plead guilty to the shoplifting charge.
The man told the Municipal Court Judge Chuck Chesnut he had shoplifted the shoes because he did not have any shoes of his own, only the pair of slippers.
He told Chesnut he was homeless and that he took the shoes to keep his feet warm.
“He said he is homeless, living in Miami and had recently come to Miami to be closer to his mother. He stated his mother is homeless also, but she is able to find friend to stay with, while he doesn't have anyone to live with,” Arnold said. “After learning this, Judge Chesnut told him if he still didn't have any shoes to come to the city court and they would try to make arrangements to get him some shoes. The man replied that after Officer Sparks completed his paperwork at the store, Officer Sparks had purchased the stolen shoes for the man.”
The officer's charitable act moved Arnold and he wrote a commendation email which spread quickly through the department.
“This is the type of compassion and kindness that exemplifies the type of officer I am proud to work with and to have working at the Miami Police Department,” Arnold said.