A new Dallas Police Officer in training caught the attention of new Chief Eddie Garcia this week for going above and beyond the call of duty, while still in training.
Trainee Officer Alfonso Garcia bought supplies for a 9-year-old girl he and his field training officer Senior Corporal Jonathan Crump found on the floor of an unfurnished apartment in Northwest Dallas last week.
The girl had food and a cell phone to use for help but no toys. She told the officers she stayed in the apartment while her father was working.
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The girl and her father had recently arrived from Guatemala.
Garcia was born in Mexico.
“That's how I related to the little 9-year-old. She was sleeping on the floor just like I did. I slept on the floor for years, because we couldn't afford anything, and I saw myself in her,” Garcia said.
His training officer said state child welfare authorities had no complaints about the family situation.
“It didn't look like an abuse situation at all. It looked like an extremely poor situation. There wasn't a chair. There wasn't a bed. It was just a flat apartment, looked like it hadn't been lived in yet,” Crump said.
Garcia surprised his training officer over the weekend by taking a wrong turn that was really a return trip to the girl’s apartment to deliver an inflatable mattress and toys he had purchased, including a stuffed bunny.
“And when he pulled out the bunny, she just lit up, stars in her eyes, so fascinated. She had nothing before he had done this,” Crump said.
The gesture by the officer in training reached new Dallas Chief Eddie Garcia, who tweeted his approval of the extra effort.
“We’re all proud,” the Chief’s tweet said.
The training officer helped spread the story.
“What was so amazing to me, is for him to be on training, trying to make it through, and you're not even a real police officer yet. You're just trying to do the best you can and get everything right. You go and make this decision on your own, on your time and your dime,” Crump said. “It really is beyond our scope.”
Alfonso Garcia seemed to pass muster to remain a police officer on his final training day.
“There's always that question mark,” he said.
The rookie said he knows he can’t do this for every child he encounters in his new career but he will do what he can.
“That's all we can do, do our best,” he said.
On the final day with his field training officer, Garcia and Crump made a second delivery of supplies to the girl’s apartment.