AMERICAN FORK, UT — In the four and a half years American Fork Police Officer Carrie Rigby has been on the force, she can't remember a call like this.
Last Friday, a single mother and her four young children, ages 11 years to 11 months, were taking shelter in the shade. The children had been drinking irrigation water from the sprinklers and had nothing to eat.
"(The mom) was pretty upset and embarrassed more than anything about the whole situation,” Rigby said.
The situation didn’t really fall under the responsibility of the police. American Fork Police Officer Chase Palfreyman was the first to arrive on the hot afternoon.
"She had a friend who dropped her off, said she couldn't take it anymore,” Palfreyman said. “No money, they were here from out of state and had basically been abandoned here overnight, been here all night long.”
As the two officers talked through the situation and what options the woman, who was trying to get away from an abusive relationship, really had, they decided they could help her immediate needs. Their superiors at work later found out about what they did from their body camera footage.
"Officers don't get paid a lot of money, but they were able to take what they had in their pocket and actually provide something for this poor family that really needed some help,” said American Fork Police Lt. Sam Liddiard.
AMERICAN FORK POLICE DEPARTMENT
Rigby went to the store and spent $60 on food, water and even shoes for the children who had none. At the same time, Palfreyman started calling homeless shelters and made arrangements for the family.
They gave them a ride to the FrontRunner station and found a passenger willing to help them get off at the right stop.
"They just did it out of the goodness of their heart, and it makes us very proud to have these officers working for us,” Liddiard said.
While the officers are being commended for going beyond the call of duty, they said helping people is what their job is really all about.
"It is one of those situations that could happen to anybody down on their luck,” Rigby said. “A good family, it was just a bad time for them.”