Police in Sterling Heights, Michigan, went the extra mile to help last week after conducting a traffic stop of an elderly man suspected of speeding — and now video of the encounter is spreading like wildfire online.
Officer Kevin Coates pulled over the elderly man for speeding at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 on Mound Rd., but before long he realized that there were more important matters at hand, the Detroit Free Press reported.
During the traffic stop, the 79-year-old motorist, visibly upset, exited his vehicle and immediately began apologizing. He told the police that it had been a stressful day.
"Everything's going wrong," the motorist explained to officers, starting to sob. "My wife's real sick and my son's mentally ill."
"I really try to drive right," the driver continued. "And I bought a television today because I wanted to make my wife happy, you know, and I can't get it hooked up."
The man went on to say that he had visited several different stores trying to figure out how to connect it, but so far wasn't having any success.
Instead of handing the man a ticket, Coates responded by listening intently and offering to help. He offered to stop by later that evening with two of his partners to see if they could help set the TV up. An hour later, Coates made good on his promise.
After learning of the officers' act of kindness, the Sterling Heights Police Department decided, with Coates' permission, to post the full video of the event to its Facebook page.
Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski later praised his officers for their outstanding work.
"I'm very proud of Officer Coates, Officer Verougstraete, and new recruit Officer Jakushevich for going above and beyond to help our residents," the chief said, according to WJBK-TV. "This is just another example of the amazing service that the Sterling Heights Police Department provides our community."
Lt. Mario Bastianelli told the Free Press the story reveals "another side of law enforcement" that many don't get a chance to see.
"That's us going the extra mile to take care of our residents, and it shows that there's a compassionate side to us," the public information officer said. "People do get breaks and we do things outside of our job duties to help out people."
In fact, he said, "It happens more often than people realize in cities nationwide. And in this case, the officers never would have mentioned what they did because they were just doing the right thing."
"A lot of times the good things don't get publicized, and this is just another good thing we want to public to see," he added.
The elderly man was given a verbal warning for speeding. He told the officers he was more than thankful for their help and that he wouldn't have been able to get the TV set up on his own.