Officers help stranded motorist

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

LaGRANGE — Some LaGrange police officers went above and beyond the call of duty this weekend to help a family stranded in the city after their car broke down on Interstate 85.

Officers William Jones, Brady Pike and Cpl. Robert Hall met the driver about 10:20 a.m. on Saturday at a hotel off Lafayette Parkway after receiving a call about children playing in the pool.

The woman explained she had her car towed to the parking lot of the hotel and asked for permission to leave it there from management. But she ran out of money paying the tow company and could not afford to get a room for her and her children, she told police.

Her family was traveling from Tennessee to help her, but it would be several hours until they arrived in LaGrange, the woman told police. While they were waiting she allowed her kids to play in the pool, which was against the hotel’s policy.

The woman said the family had been in the car since 9 p.m. on Friday and it was too hot to sit outside.

The officers decided to help the family out. After receiving permission from their shift supervisor, Sgt. Kelly Summers, the officers used money from an LPD assistance fund to book a room for the woman and her children.

The offer prevented the family from having to sit outside for an extended period of time in the heat.

“Our officers take great pride in positively interacting with members of our community in this matter because they realize that the term ‘law enforcement’ is actually a misnomer,” stated Lt. Mark Kostial of the LaGrange police patrol division. “In reality our officers routinely spend roughly 90 percent of their time providing varying types of services compared to 10 percent of time that they actually spend taking enforcement action.”

LaGrange police officers have been involved in a minimum of 420 community outreach efforts so far this year, Kostial added. Those efforts include walk-throughs of various schools; attending neighborhood watch meetings; providing assistance to domestic violence shelter Harmony House, the homeless coalition and Mental Health Court; spearheading the teen and citizen police academy; and being involved with the Boys & Girls Club, Camp Viola, local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and various faith-based organizations, among others.

This is also not the first time LPD officers have helped people in dire situations, Kostial said. Pike used the department’s assistance fund in January to provide a hotel room for a young homeless couple, the woman of whom was pregnant. Pike also used his own money to buy the couple a hot meal and brought them bags of food so they would have items to eat over the weekend.

“Officer Pike was a hero to this couple and their unborn child on this night,” Kostial said. “His selflessness is matched by his generosity. I can’t praise him enough for his compassion and kindness while helping these folks.”

Patrol supervisor Sgt. Jeremy Butler served as an overnight supervisor at the homeless facility within Three Life Church in February, added Kostial. He and his wife also prepared food and donated it to the attendees.

By Melanie Ruberti

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.