Police prove themselves ‘civil servants’

Earlier this month, we brought you a story of Johnson County sheriff’s deputies who came to the aid of an elderly couple from New York who had become disoriented. The deputies went out of their way to reunite the couple and make sure they were safe.

In brief, here’s the story:

A husband and wife had traveled to central Indiana from New York for a reunion in Indianapolis. The couple had parked an RV in Avon — no one knows why — and had hotel reservations in Indianapolis.

About 8 a.m. Sept. 17, the 74-year-old man got into his car and drove away from the RV. Deputies found a receipt in the man’s car from a store in downtown Indianapolis from 6:30 p.m. By 8:30 p.m. that day, he was in the Center Grove area. His car was parked in the middle of Smith Valley Road near State Road 37, and the man appeared disoriented, according to the police report. When deputies asked why he was in town, the man couldn’t remember and could only remember his cellphone number and the name of his two daughters.

Deputies Chad Allen, Ian McLaughlin and James Reese wanted to reunite him with his family members, but the man did not remember how he got to Johnson County. He eventually remembered that he was in town for a reunion for his Navy ship, the USS Essex. The deputies searched the Internet and found out the reunion was going to be at Wyndham Indianapolis West hotel.

The man remembered that he came to Indiana with his wife in their RV but couldn’t remember where the RV was. Deputies searched the man’s car to look for clues such as recent receipts or a phone number they could call. The deputies tried calling the local county sheriff’s office in New York but found no phone numbers for family members. They also called the Veterans Affairs hospital in Albany, New York, to see if they had the man on file. The VA hospital was able to provide two phone numbers, including one for his wife.

Deputies called a cellphone provider to try to locate the wife by searching for the GPS location of her phone. In the end, they reached the couple’s adult children, so they could make travel plans to care for their parents.

Afterward, Allen said, “What if that was my family member that was lost? I would have wanted them taken care of. … It was a lot of work, but it was rewarding in the end. I would do it again.”

This act of kindness is just one of many that are performed regularly by law enforcement officers. The only difference is that this one came to the public’s notice.

We commend the deputies involved in this incident and all of the other officers who regularly help people with no thought of public recognition.

At issue

Johnson County sheriff’s deputies went out of their way recently to help an elderly couple who had become disoriented.

Our point

This act by good Samaritans is only one of many performed regularly by law enforcement officers. The only difference is that this one came to the public’s notice.