Growing up in a disadvantaged household can be very tough. It can be easy for a young kid to take a wrong turn down a path that leads to bad things. When one police officer encountered such a kid, he decided to take his job to a new level…
Family of Cops
Che Milton grew up with the law . His father was a retired police lieutenant and his brother is an officer. Growing up, he did not know if he would go down the family path, but eventually he made a decision and Che became Officer Milton.
Many swooned over officer Milton. Standing tall at 6-foot-7 with a square jaw, he looked like the picture of a police man that could handle any dangerous situation. He even became known in the police department as the officer that all the ladies had their eye on, but would this change?
Fresh Out Of The Academy
What Officer Milton’s imposing appearance did a good job of hiding, was that he was just out of the academy. The rookie cop, assigned to the rough part of Atlanta’s northwest side, was only in the job just a few days, and it may have looked like he could handle anything, but truth be told, he was nervous deep down.
On his 4th day on the job as an officer, Che got his first call early in the shift. It was a regular routine call, that he didn’t think anything of. The employees of a Family Dollar discount store had caught a shoplifter. It would be an easy situation for even a rookie cop to handle or so he thought…
A Kid In Trouble
But when he arrived at the Family Dollar, Officer Milton was facing a situation that he did not expect. The shoplifter caught by the employees was just a 12-year-old girl and the item she’d been trying to steal was a $2 pair of shoes too small for her own feet. This made him think….
“She’s crying, bawling. Tears everywhere,” Officer Milton said. “She was upset she was caught stealing.” The girl, whose name was Heaven, told Officer Milton that she was stealing shoes because her 5-year-old sister needed them and her parents didn’t have the money to buy them…
Rather than following the law in this situation, he thought outside of the box and knew what to do. He did not want to be putting the 12-year-old in cuffs, “I couldn’t put her in the system, being 12 years old, for stealing some [$2] shoes,” he said. “I’d rather just take her home and see what’s going on.”
Taking Her Home
Officer Milton found out where she lived and sat the girl inside his police car. On the ride back to her house, Heaven cried the whole time. Even though she had explained why she felt the need to steal the $2 shoes, Officer Milton was not prepared for what he saw when he arrived at Heaven’s home…
Officer Milton parked in front of Heaven’s small home and escorted her inside.”That’s when I saw the conditions — how the conditions were in the house,” he said. Inside were Heaven’s mother Shameek Staples, 4 siblings and not a lot else. They had little food and not hardly any furniture. They didn’t even have beds, instead there were just sheets on the floor to sleep on. He was shocked.
Because she couldn’t afford daycare for her children, Shameek was unable to work. Instead, her husband was almost never home because he was always working in order to support the family. Heaven tried to do her best to support her mother in raising her siblings. “It was very rough for them,” Officer Milton said, “It just pulled on my heartstrings.”…
Can’t Shake It
Officer Milton explained the situation to Shameek and told her he wasn’t going to arrest Heaven. He left them with just a warning and returned to work. But during the rest of his shift, Officer Milton couldn’t stop thinking about Heaven. He had to do something.
Call to Action
Officer Milton sat at his desk, and thought about the reason he became a police officer, which was to protect and serve. He thought about the kind of poverty that this family was in, that would lead a young girl to try and steal some $2 shoes and then, he decided he was going to do something about it…
After his shift had ended, Officer Milton went back to the Staples’ home with 4 large pizzas and several 2-liter bottles of soda. When Shameek opened the door and saw Officer Milton standing there with dinner for the whole family, she got emotional. “The mom got teary-eyed. Me…” Officer Milton said, choking up as he recalled, “I got emotional as well”.
Officer Milton’s acts of kindness, letting Heaven off for shoplifting and bringing her family dinner, would have probably gone unnoticed if another officer on duty hadn’t said something to their supervisor. When Officer Milton was called into the supervisor’s office, he thought he was in trouble for not arresting the young girl…
Instead, his supervisor wanted to commend Officer Milton for his good deed and compassion. He made Officer Milton the officer of the month, the same month he graduated from the academy. Word of his generosity spread through the police department and through the local community.
As more and more people learned about the Staples’ situation, donations began to flood in. From time to time, Officer Milton would stop by their home to drop off donated food, diapers, clothing, and household supplies. Shameek always greets him with a hug…
God Bless and Protect You
One of the most notable contributions was a gift card from a retired school librarian. She left a letter with it saying “I have seen some students face difficult home situations. I pray that [the Staples’ get] a new start and a better life,” adding “May God bless and protect you, Officer Milton, and your police force as you face each challenging day.”
Shameek is so grateful for the help that Officer Milton gave to her family and the generosity his actions inspired, saying that he “has been a blessing to our family. When you have a lot of kids, you are constantly in need of things, and he’s helped to fill some of those needs.” She never believed this would happen to her in a million years, and all because her daughter stole some shoes.
Pay It Forward
Officer Milton’s actions have even inspired Heaven to do volunteer work and to give to those in need. Telling her mother “we have stuff that’s too little for [her younger siblings] that we can give away,” she’s donated what they could spare to others who can use it. She has seen the value in doing good deeds and wants to carry that on.
Protect and Serve
When asked about his generosity, Officer Milton simply said “It’s just who I am and just what I’ve been around my whole life,” making sure to note that many of his fellow officers have done similar kind acts. “I’m here to help protect and serve,” he added, “and that is what I’m going to continue to do.”