This photo went viral from NYPD’s FaceBook page. It shows Ofc. Larry DePrimo giving a pair of socks and winter boots he purchased to a homeless man.
It has kind of a Norman Rockwell-esque feel that I think portrays an ideal of the Patrolman that is from a bygone era.
I have recollections of officers giving money, meals, and personal items to people in need under all manner of conditions. I once watched one of our officers, who was universally detested by the squad, give his foot-long sub sandwich to a homeless guy. “Yeah, you need this more than I do.” Another officer went out and bought toothpaste, milk, and bread for a shut-in woman from his own wallet. Yet a third made sure a certain troubled family had a turkey dinner each Thanksgiving. There are countless more stories.
This goes on all the time. It is a lesser known part of the law enforcement profession, and maybe it should remain that way. So much ugliness passes before us that sometimes an act of kindness without expectation of repayment or reward reaffirms our sense of goodness in the world.
Ofc. DePrimo’s gesture is much more common to police work than what society is actually privy to, what with negative media portrayals and, worse, the officers who tarnish all our badges for us. I’m glad people are seeing this image, but I’d like them to know it’s there every single day whether they see it or not.