All too often it seems that only one side of law enforcement is visible — the enforcing side. The side that demonstrates strength, dedication and occasionally even the callousness that may be required to be an effective police officer.
But that’s not all there is to the job.
Georgia Law Enforcement recently shared a photo, along with a message, proving just that.
The photo, shared by KIFI-TV, depicts an elderly man lying in a hospital bed, and a younger woman lovingly holding his hand.
“You may look at this picture and see a caring granddaughter comforting her beloved grandfather as he lies in a weakened state in a hospital bed,” Georgia Law Enforcement wrote. “The truth is that this woman is a police officer.”
The post goes on to share that Officer Dena Walker Pauly met the man in the photo, Bob, only two years prior, while she was on duty.
After the owners of a pawn shop called the police for help, Officer Pauly arrived on the scene and introduced herself to Bob. Unexpectedly, the two began a friendship that would change both of their lives forever.
“Life has not been kind to Bob,” Georgia Law Enforcement continued. “He’s been on his own since he was a child and has no known family. He was homeless most of his life and a stroke eventually left him non-verbal. His life is a series of sad stories strung together by poverty and loneliness.”
When she arrived at the pawn shop that day, Officer Pauly immediately sensed that Bob needed help. Pauly offered to help Bob get home, and was shocked by the way he was living.
“She may have been dispatched that day by police radio, but we have no doubt she was really sent by God,” Georgia Law Enforcement wrote.
“She immediately addressed Bob’s deplorable living conditions and taught him basic skills such as throwing garbage in the trash can rather than the floor. She’s ensured he has food to eat.”
But to Officer Pauly, it still didn’t seem like enough. Bob was so much more than a case she had worked — he was a person, a fellow-human, a friend.
“She eventually sought and received a Power of Attorney for Bob’s medical care.”
Bob had been in the hospital since May of 2019, and when the photo was taken, he didn’t have long. The heartbreaking photo was taken shortly before his death on July 17.
“She held his hand and told him many times that she loved him. It’s quite possible she’s the first person to ever utter those words to this poor man,” the message continued.
“This photo depicts the true nature of law enforcement officers. We are drawn to this profession because we care. We care so deeply that it hurts sometimes.”
Officer Pauly and Bob’s story demonstrates the softer side of life as a police officer that so few people get to see.
“We see the worst, but sometimes we also get to see the best. And we have opportunities to truly make a difference.”
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