A family of 10 fled the violence of Chicago to make the 150-mile trek to Madison, Wis., where they were forced to sleep on the streets. Going above and beyond their job description, local police came to their aid.
A female police officer found the family of four adults, five children and one baby under a pile of blankets downtown near the state Capitol.
Said the incident report:
At first, the veteran downtown patrol officer thought it was just a pile of blankets and some belongings, left temporarily on State St. by homeless people. Such a site is not unusual in the Center City ... The officer did not suspect humans were beneath the bedding, but she was wrong.
The family informed her that they left the South Side neighborhood of Englewood to escape the rampant shootings and violence. They had been on the streets for two weeks.
Englewood is one of the most hazardous areas in Chicago, and gang warfare is rampant. Said the officer, “It was just too dangerous to stay. Some people they knew were killed.”
The Wisconsin police came to the family’s aid and tracked down three churches that were willing to provide food or funds for a hotel. The officers then shuttled the family to safety in a prisoner transport van and gave them stuffed animals, books and blankets that the department had stashed for emergency situations.
According to the police report, the family was not looking for any handouts, but was thankful for the assistance. One of the adult men “was choked up and had difficulty expressing himself — clearly his gratitude was overwhelming.”
The police sergeant commended the officers on their altruism. He wrote, “They could have checked the welfare of the children and left; the day was warming and no further threat. They did not. They made sure that this family was provided reprieve from the unpleasant reality their current situation has provided.”