A day patrolling the streets last week didn’t go as planned for Bloomingdale Police Officer Michael Giovenco, who was caught in the midst of what residents never expected, when he didn’t think anyone was looking. But someone did see it and recorded it, then shared it online and shocked thousands of people on social media.
A 21-year-old mentally disabled woman had wandered away from home and was aimlessly strolling down a busy road when Officer Giovenco spotted her and stopped. He could see that she was terrified at the dangerous predicament she had gotten herself in. The woman was apprehensive about talking to the officer, let alone going anywhere with him. With unwavering compassion, Giovenco continued to soothe her and eventually managed to calm her down. But his job wasn’t done yet, the woman had one request.
The unnamed wanderer told the cop that she just wanted to “walk the trails.” That’s when the officer put crime aside and moved from protecting the community to serving. He gently grabbed the handicapped woman’s hand and said, “Let’s go, I’ll walk the ‘trails’ with you,” and the two walked together down the sidewalk with no plan in mind, other than to be a friend to this young woman who could really use one.
Giovenco’s partner spotted the heartwarming scene and began recording the cop and citizen stroll from behind. He then turned the video over to the Bloomingdale Police Department, who were so touched by their officer taking time out of his day to walk hand-in-hand with this woman, that they uploaded it to their Facebook page. Others were equally impressed by what the department called “excellent police work,” as the post quickly went viral around the Internet.
According to NBC Chicago, after walking the “trails” of the woman’s choosing, Giovenco was able to convince her to let him walk her home and make sure she arrived there safely. She liked that idea, and the pair turned around and headed back to her house.
Officer Giovenco isn’t arrogant, aggressive, racist, or any other undeserved label criminals in the country call cops. He knows his job is to not just protect the community from danger, but to serve when the opportunity presents itself. He could have questioned the woman, then simply put her in the patrol car and taken her home, but instead he did much better that, going above and beyond for a forgotten woman in his community. Well done Giovenco, you are a gem in your profession.
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