Officer Dunham’s job might be comprised of driving around and surveying neighborhoods to little fruition on most days, but this day wasn’t one of them.
The Franklin-based police officer was out on the job, on an otherwise normal day for everyone else. He was responding to a call about a child outside a CVS store.
Heartbreaking is a pretty good description of what officer Dunham witnessed – a 7-year old boy offering to sell his stuffed animal so he can buy food.
A stuffed animal is a nearly irreplaceable companion to a child, so this was a sign that things were really bad.
Who this kid was, why he was this far from home, and why he needed to beg for money for food are the obvious questions here. Dunham’s job was to be of help to people, and this sort of thing was exactly within his job description.
Downtown Franklin was no place for a little boy to be all by himself. Besides the fact that he hadn’t eaten in far too long, there are a whole host of other things to worry about if he’s out alone.
Dunham can’t see everything, so it was fortunate that he happened to be in the vicinity.
“He told me that he was trying to sell his stuffed animal to get money for food, because he hadn’t eaten in several days.”
First things first, get this kid something to eat. Officer Dunham drove the kid to a Subway and bought him some food, and remarked that he said some prayers for the kid on the way back. Having dinner with a random 7-year old wasn’t on his list of things to do today, needless to say.
This was positive news to the station’s police chief since this is exactly what he wants to see from his officers.
“They treated him like their own kids, and that’s exactly what law enforcement does in situations like this. It’s ‘How would we want someone to treat our kids?'” – Police chief Russ Whitman
It goes without saying that an investigation into the living conditions of this boy was in order.
And boy did the results show how bad things were. The 7-year old had 4 brothers, and they were all living in below-acceptable conditions of poverty.
In their house, these 5 boys had to make do with garbage everywhere, and the most displeasing combination of human and cat urine around the house.
That’s pretty severe, to put it somewhat lightly.
The parents were charged with child endangerment – and 10 counts of it at that. No child should have to be living like this, let alone 5 of them. Thanks to officer Dunham’s discovery and those charges of child endangerment, things will hopefully turn out better for the 5 boys.
I certainly hope so.
But there are people with the power to change things, and all they need to do is find out which things need to change. Who knows what would’ve happened to this boy if he was forced to starve any longer? At least things can change now.
And while to some folks, it might seem like some act of kindness worthy of praise, officer Dunham insists that he’s just doing what he should be doing – both as a police officer and as a human being.
Though short, this news story with officer Dunham is a pretty stark reminder of how someone near you could be suffering or in need of dire help. It’s a news flash we all need to hear every now and then, so please give this article a share too!
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