KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City police officer goes above and beyond the call of duty to help an elderly man in need.
Central Patrol Officer Oliver Weeks responded to a call last week during his overnight shift. The dispatcher described an elderly homeless man in need of help at the Walgreens near 39th and Broadway.
“He had lost everything,” Weeks said. “He lost his wallet, lost his phone. He just had a couple pieces of paper.”
Weeks encounters countless homeless people during his overnight shifts in the city, but something about this man was different, as he openly shared his battle with alcoholism, diabetes and a once happy life that was now unraveling.
“He was a man at rock bottom,” Weeks said. “He looked at me and he’s like, ‘Officer, I just need some help.’ He’s like, ‘Please help me,’ and it just grabbed me. I’m like, ‘I got to help this guy!’”
Weeks called an ambulance, which is usually where his job ends; but this time, he gave his personal phone number to the EMT and later showed up at the hospital when the man was discharged.
Weeks immediately noticed a new pep in the man’s step, serving as reassurance that he was ready to make a change.
“He had turned his shirts inside out,” Weeks said, “and he had a little bit of hair on the side of his head and he slicked it back like he was ready to go. It was emotional. I was like, ‘All right, man.’ I put him in the front seat of my patrol car. I was like, ‘I’m going to help you out. We’re going to get you there.’”
They drove until they reached a place Weeks had researched: the Benilde Hall Program on the city’s East side. It’s a non-profit organization that offers the homeless a place to stay while getting treatment for drug addiction and mental health issues.
“This officer gave us a call,” said Rachelle Smith, director of development at Benilde, “and we had an opening for this individual to come and receive the resources he desperately wanted and needed.”
The man just completed his first week of treatment – the first step to a better life.
“It’s hard work to be homeless, believe it or not,” Smith said. “They always have to watch over themselves, so this is really providing that safe place for them to learn new life skills, as well as really self-evaluating.”
Officer Weeks said he’s giving the man some time to adjust to the program, but he intends on following up to make sure his positive life change is long-lasting.
“Our whole mission is to protect and serve,” Weeks said. “And we spend a lot of our time protecting, but every now and then, we get to serve, and this is one of those times where I got to serve and it was awesome.”