A rise in police violence has left many doubting today’s justice system. Still, some cops — such as the handful from El Segundo who helped replace a teen’s stolen money — are demonstrating kindness. For a Chicago teen, sneaking into XSport Fitness was routine, as he could no longer pay for a membership. When staff phoned the feds, officer Mario Valenti offered to pay for the 15-year-old’s membership, granted he would stay out of trouble.
“After 23 years in this job, you size up people pretty quickly. And I could tell he was a gentle type of kid,” [said] Valenti.
Moved by Valenti’s gesture, the club offered to shoulder the remaining funds for a two-year membership. Teen Vincent Gonzales, an aspiring point guard, expressed his gratitude through a text and on national television. Similarly, Valenti’s good deed lifted a burden off his own shoulders.
“You get satisfaction out of helping people, especially because our job is so negative,” Valenti said.
Good cop, bad cop? In Valenti’s case, just cop, as his actions should be standard for anyone in law enforcement.
More often than not, society can be grisly. Many will turn a blind eye — but staying silent is many a time just as dangerous as not knowing. It’s individuals like dentist Kenny Wilstead, who treated a domestic abuse victim free-of-charge, who are calling attention to everyday horrors. Now, in a very public campaign, U.S. Navy Seals and retired officers are banding together to put an end to human trafficking.
“It is partnerships such as this that play a significant role in law enforcement today, not only from a public safety standpoint but also as an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who have been victimized,” wrote [Sheriff] Mike Williams.
The group, Saved In America, works within the system and employs volunteers. The foundation takes cases on missing juveniles, and rehabilitating those who are rescued.
“People don’t realize this is going on in their own backyards. This isn’t in some far away country with very poor people,” says Joshua Travers, Joseph’s son, a former U.S. Marine and SAIM’s case manager.
When high-profile cases are shelved, we often forget that, for many, the search isn’t over.