Police officers give family car seats instead of tickets

Cedar Park officers give family car seats instead of tickets

CEDAR PARK, Texas -- A Texas man is thanking two Cedar Park police officers after they purchased car seats for his children after a recent traffic stop.

Officer Justin Gower pulled over a truck traveling along South Bell Boulevard on Oct. 17 for having an expired registration and malfunctioning light.

"When I was up there talking to the driver, that's when I realized there was three kids in the back seat without car seats," said Gower.

He hadn't met the man before, but realized he heard about him from other officers.

"Remember hearing the story about, you know, he's saving money, he's living in a car, he's trying to get his family down," Gower recalled.

So he called in Officer Cale Hawkins, who had talked with the man just a few weeks ago.

"They were living in a hotel and he said all of his money was going to that at this time," said Hawkins.

In that moment, Gower and Hawkins made a judgment call.

"Giving him three tickets, it wasn't going to do any good," said Gower. "Those kids were still going to have to be driven somewhere, somehow with no car seats."

"We just kind of stepped off to the side and said we need to kind of do the right thing and get these people some car seats," said Hawkins.

The officers put their own money together and while Gower talked to the driver, Hawkins drove to Wal-Mart.

"I recognized some of the management staff and told them immediately what I wanted to do. She walked back with me and helped me. We chose the age appropriate car seats and color coded them," said Hawkins.

Hawkins said the manager also gave him a small discount, bringing his total to about $145.

He went back to meet the driver with three pink car seats for the man's daughters who are 1, 3 and 4-years old. Then Hawkins and Gower, fathers themselves, helped put them in the truck.

The man they helped did not want to speak with KVUE on camera, but released the following statement:

"It was nothing short of a miracle. It was something that was really needed. The officers have been a blessing."

When the other Cedar Park officers on the same shift as Gower and Hawkins heard what was going on, they also chipped in to help pay for the car seats.

Giving a gift, instead of a ticket; proving the power of the badge is made stronger by the hearts who wear them.

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