Michigan police officers buy family a car seat instead of issuing ticket

The Michigan officers determined the family didn't have money to buy a seat on their own. (Photo: ABC News)

Two police officers in Michigan are being hailed as heroes for making the decision to buy a car seat for a family in need instead of citing the child’s parents.

Officers Jason Pavlige and James Hodges of Fruitport Township, Michigan, responded to call for a report that a woman at a local McDonald’s was holding a baby in her arms in a car’s passenger seat.

The officers observed a minor traffic violation and pulled the driver over, Hodges, 26, a nearly two-year veteran of the force, told ABC News. The father of the 10-month-old girl was behind the wheel.

When officers spoke with the parents, who weren’t identified, they quickly realized that the family didn’t have the resources to purchase a car seat for their daughter.

“They had just recently moved to the area,” Hodges said. “We tried to have them contact family but they don’t have anyone close.

“There were no co-workers, no one who could help them out,” he said.

Instead of issuing the parents a citation, Pavlige and Hodges decided to take action… in a different way.

“We spoke with each other and made the decision to go get them a car seat so we’d know the kid was safe and that this issue wouldn’t come up again,” Hodges said.

While Pavlige stayed with the family, Hodges headed to a local Walmart, where he purchased a new car seat with money from his and Pavlige’s own pockets. They then installed the car seat and gave the family instructions on how to properly use it.

“The father was, I think, almost in shock,” said Hodges, who declined to say how much the car seat cost. “They didn’t say much but were just very appreciative.”

Hodges and Pavlige’s good deed happened in February but was publicized just last week after a Walmart employee called the police station to report what the officers had done.

“It was only brought to our attention by a clerk at Walmart who saw it and thought they should be recognized,” Fruitport Township Police Lt. Bruce Morningstar said. “They were doing it on their own without any recognition.”

Hodges says the occurrence was just another day on the job in the life of a police officer.

“We made the decision that was what we needed to do to solve the issue,” Hodges said. “When we left we went onto the next call.”

“It’s just part of what police officers do on a daily basis,” he said.

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