Ky. cop buys baby formula for shoplifter's child
Officer was dispatched to a shoplifting complaint and found out that the suspect had been caught stealing baby formula
By Rob Mcdaniel
The Sentinel Echo
LONDON, Ky. — "People see us driving black and white cars and a lot of times that makes them think we enforce laws that are just black and white, but they're not," London Police Chief Derek House said.
"Sometimes there's a gray area and I trust my officers to do what's right."
That's exactly what London police officer Justin Roby did when he was dispatched to a shoplifting complaint at Kroger on North Main Street on Saturday, Jan. 17
According to Roby, he was dispatched to a shoplifting complaint and when he arrived on scene he spoke with a loss prevention employee and found out that the suspect had been caught stealing baby formula.
Further investigation revealed that the suspect had fallen on hard times and didn't have enough money to buy formula for his 6-month-old son.
Roby was told that the store didn't want to press charges and Roby made a judgment call; he decided not to pursue the incident any further.
Instead of arresting the man, Roby bought him a few cans of formula and told him if he ever needed help to come to the police department, ask for help at any of the local churches or to utilize any of the county's many resources available for those in need. A few days later London Police Department and the Sentinel-Echo received letters from a Kroger customer, Joyce Fouts.
Fouts complimented Roby on his selflessness and compassion saying "Mr. Roby deserves recognition for having compassion for someone who used poor judgment."
"People should realize that stealing is not a solution for solving problems, " Fouts' letter continued. "They should ask people or organizations for help when they're down on their luck... the law is out there to help protect them they're not the 'Big Bad Wolf.'"
House said that he gets letters like Fouts' thanking him for the things his officers do all the time.
"Whether it's changing tires or something like this, it makes you proud," House said. "Our officers have hearts too. I trust them to always do the right thing. Having a department full of people like Justin makes it a lot easier for me to sleep at night."
Roby said he doesn't feel like he did anything special, adding that his fellow officers do similar things often.
"I didn't do anything that any one of us don't do all the time," Roby said. "It just usually doesn't get seen. It happens a lot more than people realize. We're not here to throw people in jail, we're here to protect and serve the community.
"I just did the right thing," Roby continued. "I wished the man good luck and told him if he ever needed anything to let us know. Then I went on my way and didn't think about it anymore. I didn't do anything I wouldn't expect anyone else to do. I hope someone would do the same for me if I was in that situation."
House said that Fouts' letter complimenting Roby's actions will be filed in his personnel file, adding that he couldn't be more proud of the officers of London Police Department.
Copyright 2015 The Sentinel Echo