In October, the South Fulton Police Department received a shoplifting call at Walmart on Old National Highway. Officers Cornell Madison, Gwendolyn Moseley and Frederick Brown responded and learned that the accused were a homeless mother and her four children.
The mother had been unable to find accommodations in a homeless shelter and was living in her car. Her children were unable to attend school because they couldn’t afford the cost of medical check-ups and immunizations. The items they’d stolen were those of necessity, food and hygiene products.
The officers sprang into action, calling in favors from the community and local businesses to help.
“We did not think it was worth them going to jail,” South Fulton Police Officer Cornell said. “We worked with Walmart to allow the family to keep the items and drop the shoplifting charges.”
They took the family to Big Daddy’s, a nearby restaurant, to feed them. Restaurant owner Marcus Sager paid for their meals and a weeklong stay at a local motel.
“We took the family to a doctor’s office to address their health issues,” Officer Cornell said. “I contacted a friend, whose wife is a dentist, and secured dental care for the family.”
The family’s medical and dental expenses totaled more than $20,000, according to Officer Cornell. But, through the generosity of others, the family received the much-needed care for free. In addition, several South Fulton officers came together to raise money for the family.
Now city officials are honoring the officers for their acts of kindness and compassion. The officers are being recognized with their own day for going “beyond the badge,” and will receive a proclamation from the Mayor and City Council at tonight’s regular meeting at the South Fulton Arts Center.
“During a time when many people are losing trust in law enforcement communities across the country, I’m elated to amplify and honor the spirit of altruism in the City of South Fulton’s Police Department,” said Councilman Mark Baker, who sponsored the proclamation honoring the officers. “The actions shown by these officers demonstrate the importance of understanding and sharing a common unity with the community you serve. They went beyond the badge and their good deeds became infectious, living up to the title of South Fulton’s finest.”
Police Chief Keith Meadows echoed those feelings as he praised the officers for their compassion on the job.
“I am so proud that our officers exercised prudent judgement while carrying out their duties,” Meadows said. “We will never arrest our way out of the problems when confronting our city.
“Investing in people and relationships will carry us through difficult times,” he continued. “Deeds like this help to restore faith and legitimacy in the future of law enforcement.”