Note: we are republishing this story amid nationwide discussion regarding police accountability and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
A St. Albans, West Virginia, police officer has gone viral after a heartwarming picture surfaced on the internet showing the cop cradling a 14-month-old baby girl.
Sgt. Phillip Bass was among the officers who rescued the baby early Monday morning after Kroger store employees heard her crying in a locked bathroom in the store.
According to police, the responding officers found the baby girl in the bathroom with a woman who was later identified as 39-year-old Donnyell Harrison.
Speaking to WCHS-TV, Bass said: "The lady let us in the bathroom and then we saw her, and this little baby, she was sitting in a buggy with a baby bottle of Dr. Pepper. And she said, 'Well, I didn't have anything else to give her!' And I said, 'Well, you're in Kroger!'"
According to Cpt. James Agee, who was among the responding officers, stated that there were some "obvious signs of drugs" in the bathroom, including "a lot of pills visible."
In a news release, police revealed that Harrison was not the baby’s mother, and stated that she’d been arrested and charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute. Authorities added that the baby's mother was incarcerated in a local jail and that she’d left the baby in another person’s care, who in turn gave the baby to Harrison.
Sgt. Bass and other officers took care of the child for over four hours as they waited for Child Protective Services to arrive and take her. Several officers bought proper food and diapers for her, with a Kanawha officer who was assisting purchasing a few toys.
"Sometimes we're a warrior, sometimes we're a guardian, sometimes we're a babysitter!" said Agee.
“The Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office is looking into possible charges relating to the care of the baby," authorities said.
The St. Albans Police Department has not provided any additional comment.
Sources: ABC news