There are countless stories that have arisen in recent years regarding tragic encounters between officers and black Americans, often ending in the death of one or the other. Whenever news of an officer-involved shooting trends, one can be sure that there will be newly sparked protests in that area where the situation took place.
Seeing these kinds of stories on a daily basis can be rather draining, so when we find a story that demonstrates the kind of community relations that we really would like to see, we just have to share it with you. One such story comes to us from Benicia, California.
Jourdan Duncan, an 18 year-old resident of Benicia, works a job in the late afternoon through approximately midnight. He just recently graduated from high school and works at Pro-Form Labratories.
He normally drove to work, but back in July the timing belt and an engine valve on his car broke, and he was unable to fix it. He got rides from friends occasionally, but decided to try alternate means to get to work so as not to become a burden.
One evening, at about 11 p.m, Corporal Kirk Keffer of the Benicia Police Department noticed Duncan walking along the side of Industrial Way, not a route that is known for its friendliness to pedestrians. He decided to stop and ask what was going on, to see if everything was okay. It was then that he heard Duncan’s story.
The Washington Post shared in great detail the chain of events that makes this a heart-warming story.
He stopped his patrol car, got out and called out to the pedestrian.
Was he okay? What was he doing out there by himself?
The teenager, 18-year-old Jourdan Duncan, was equally startled at first.
“I was absolutely nervous,” he said. “I thought, okay, um, did I do anything wrong? Is he going to put me in cuffs? I didn’t do anything bad.”
Duncan told Keffer he was walking back to his parents’ home in Vallejo. He had just gotten off from his job at Pro-Form Laboratories, where the teen worked on the packaging line from 3 p.m. until around midnight.
“Vallejo? That’s like seven miles away,” Keffer said he remembered saying to Duncan.
Soon, he had cleared out the passenger seat in his patrol car and offered Duncan a ride home.
Duncan had been doing this trip since July when his car broke down. The commute got easier for him, but it still certainly does not detract from his dedication. Officer Keffer recognized this hard work and dedication when he dropped Duncan home.
“I was just like, wow, Jourdan, that’s really impressive, your dedication and your hard work,” Keffer said. “At age 18, that’s a good work ethic to have, and I said, you know, I admire that. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
They parted ways and Keffer returned to the police department in Benicia. Still, he couldn’t get Duncan’s commute out of his head. He mentioned his interaction to his shift supervisor, who, like Keffer, happened to be a board member of the Benicia Police Officers’ Association.
Keffer just could not get this young man out of his head, and he decided to act on his behalf to do something special. He brought the issue to his supervisor.
“So I hit him up and say, ‘I just had this contact with this young man,’ ” Keffer said. ” ‘He’s walking five hours a day, and I think it should be rewarded. What if we help him out?’ ”
They emailed the rest of the board to seek approval to buy a bicycle. It was, he said, one of the fastest votes they’ve ever taken: Within an hour, enough board members wrote back in agreement. And so, the following day, Keffer visited Wheels in Motion, a local bike shop.
He was looking for a good mountain bike, Keffer explained to the owner. Something with a reliable gearing system that could handle Benicia’s steep hills. The longtime shop owner, Greg Andrade, helped him pick out a $500 Giant-brand bicycle — and loved the teen’s story so much that he also donated a lighting system, brake light and helmet.
When they got the bike and the extras together, they contacted Duncan’s employer and set up a special time to surprise him with the new bike.
Duncan was in shock, not expecting anything like this. The officers gave him the bike as kind of token of gratitude. They recognized a unique kind of work ethic and a unique dedication that is rare among the youth these days (take it from a Millennial, this is pretty rare).
“We would like to acknowledge your hard work and dedication for what you do and setting the example for kids your age,” Keffer said they told him. “Hopefully this’ll make your trip easier.”
Many in the Black Lives Matter movement would have you believe that nothing good ever comes of interactions between police officers and black Americans, but that is simply not the case.
There are certainly issues in the criminal justice system, and of course there are officers who abuse their power; but they are not nearly as prolific as BLM would have you think. When those kinds of issues do come up, and where there is sufficient evidence that police power was abused, that officer should be prosecuted for breaching the public’s trust.
However, these kinds of stories serve to remind us that there are good people in our local police departments, and that they are indeed people as well. These kinds of stories are rare, and they don’t stir people up and get them angry, but it is these stories that will help to bring us back together as communities.
Source: The Federalist Papers