On Sunday afternoon, police officials received a report of a young boy wandering alone on the busy streets of Franklin. Officer Steve Dunham and his team responded to the report and found a 7-year-old boy barefoot standing in front of a pharmacy with a stuffed animal. Officer Dunham said it broke his heart when the boy was asked about his situation. They found out the boy was trying trying to sell his stuffed animal for money so that he can buy food since he hasn’t eaten for several days.
Officer Dunham responded to the situation beyond his call of duty with empathy and, together with the other officers, provided the care he needed. Officer Dunham brought the boy to a nearby Subway restaurant to get something to eat, before bringing him back to the police station. “We said a little prayer and ate dinner together,” Dunham said. The other officers also spent some time with the kid watching cartoons, while waiting for a family member to pick him up, making him feel safe and secure.
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Law enforcement took action and started investigating the child’s home. When investigators arrived, the parents were asleep and had no idea the boy was out. Incident reports from the investigation described the home as being filled with trash, liquor bottles, spoiled food, and stench of cat urine all over the place. The parents were charged with 10 counts of child endangerment but pleaded not guilty and were released Tuesday. With the help of child protection services, the young boy and his other siblings are temporarily under the care of their other family members. Franklin Police also shared that a donation drive has been organized by St Vincent De Paul at St. Mary’s Church to raise money for the kids.
In an interview with WLWT, Officer Dunham shared, “I came back to check on him and he was hiding. He jumped out to scare me when I came back in the building; he got me real good”. Officer Dunham said he was just doing his job and was happy to help. “(We) would like to go home at the end of the day feeling like (we’ve) done something positive and, you know, had some kind of positive impact.”
Officer Dunham has truly made an impact on the life of that young boy and his siblings. This story is just one of many that goes to show how law enforcement comes with a heart.
Watch WLWT‘s report below: