After yet another few weeks filled with stories about young Black men and women being killed, brutalized and disrespected by law enforcement, the timing couldn't be more perfect for a story about the many ways in which law enforcement can change our lives for the better.
Northern California teenager Jourdan Duncan had one such experience recently. The recent high school graduate had a chance encounter with a police officer while walking home from work one evening. Naturally, Duncan's first instinct after being stopped by a police officer in a squad car after dark was that trouble was imminent. Instead, the officer, Cpl. Kirk Keffer, offered him a ride home after learning Duncan walked two hours each way to and from work, every day.
During the ride, Duncan shared with Keffer why he undertook such a grueling commute each day rather than ask friends for rides or carpool. “I didn’t want to always call somebody and be like, ‘Hey, can you pick me up?’” he said. “That would have took a lot of people’s time.” After hearing more of Duncan's story — that he recently graduated high school, was working to put himself through college and hoped to be a law enforcement officer himself one day — Keffer was moved.
The following day, Keffer rallied his fellow officers and bought Duncan a mountain bike with all the trimmings — safety lights, a helmet, etc. — and surprised Duncan with it at work.
Duncan was bowled over by the gesture, and the media attention that came with it. But the chance encounter and act of kindness on Keffer's part sparked an enduring friendship. Keffer offered to take Duncan on a ride-along, so the aspiring officer could get a sense of what life in blue is like.
“It’s something I’ve been interested in since high school. A lot of my family members, they’re in law enforcement,” Duncan said. “It’s like, what they do and, due to a lot of people thinking that there are bad cops out there, I want to prove that all cops aren’t bad — which is true, due to what just happened to me.”
What a needed reminder given everything that's happening in this country.