The role of a police officer is varied, and they never know what they will do from one day to the next. One day they might spend completing paperwork, and another they may be in high-risk situations, such as a stand-off with an armed robber. There are also some more pleasant aspects of their job, such as reuniting missing children with their parents and rescuing animals. It truly is a diverse job, and this means that their day can often bring surprises. Many police officers have chosen that career because they genuinely want to help people. One such officer is Officer Kareem Garibaldi, who works for the Lakeland Police Department in Florida. Just like all the other police officers, his days varied from capturing criminals to helping people in the local community. I Heart Dogs reported that Officer Garibaldi was working the early morning shift one day in May 2016. He was driving along the road in his patrol car when he almost ran over a Pit Bull/ Boxer mix puppy. The small dog was only around eight weeks old, and it was running loose with no collar or identification tags.
Due to the lack of identification on the dog, there was no contact number or address to help Officer Garibaldi to reunite the dog with his rightful owners. However, he was determined to do the best that he could for the dog and took the search into his own hands. Officer Garibaldi began a search of the neighborhood near where he had found the dog. He knocked on doors to see if anybody recognized the pup, put up posters in the area, and also used social media in his attempt to find her family. His actions were to no avail. By the end of his shift, Officer Garibaldi had been unable to find the pup’s owners. This meant that he had to take her to the Lakeland Police Department so that she could keep warm and get some food. He felt a huge amount of responsibility for the dog and was determined to give her the best chance in life. Although Officer Garibaldi had just completed a 12-hour shift for the third consecutive day, he was willing to give his own time to help the little pup. He drove her to the SPCA Florida Medical Center so that they could give her an inspection and care for her.
The first step was for the dog to get checked by the vet. While this happened, Officer Garibaldi waited in the waiting room to make sure everything was okay. They had arrived at 08:45 am, and the pup’s examination was not completed until noon. All this time, Officer Garibaldi sat waiting patiently. Connie Johnson is the safety net manager for the shelter. When she arrived at the clinic to begin work for the day, she couldn’t resist taking a photograph of the police officer sat in the waiting room. He had his head rested against the wall with his eyes closed as he was clearly tired after working three days of 12-hour shifts. Johnson said that she had huge admiration for him because he had taken the time to bring the dog to the shelter when he finished work.
His actions were also praised by the police department where he worked. The Lakeland Police Department even posted his story on their Facebook page. This attracted lots of attention from people in the community. There were multiple comments from people who had read the story praising his actions and describing him as kindhearted. Johnson described Officer Garibaldi as being selfless. Many people would have prioritized getting home to get some sleep, but Officer Garibaldi put the needs of the pup before his own. Johnson said that he briefly woke up to ask how the pup was doing, before falling back to sleep with his head rested against the wall of the clinic’s reception area. Thankfully, the vet gave the pup the all clear, and it turned out that Officer Garibaldi’s selfless actions were not in vain. She was adopted later in the same day by one of the dispatchers from the shelter. Her original name is unknown, but she was renamed Hope by her new owner.
If Officer Garibaldi had not rescued the pup and taken her to the clinic, it is likely that she would have become a stray and may even have died while living on the streets. Therefore, his actions have made a significant difference in the dog’s life. While the Lakeland Police Department has praised Officer Garibaldi for his actions that day, they have also said that it is not that unusual for one of their police officers to go above and beyond in situations like these. A spokesperson for the Lakeland Police Department said that they have many amazing officers in their department who have helped both humans and animals in many ways that are not an expectation of the police officer role. The spokesperson went on to say that although there are many examples of the kind actions of their officers, it is rare that they are documented in the way that Officer Garibaldi’s story has been highlighted.
The police officers do many amazing things to help out their community, but they do not do it for personal recognition. Therefore, their kind actions often go unnoticed beyond the people directly involved in a situation. It is truly amazing that there are police officers out their like Officer Garibaldi who are willing to do their utmost to help out in every situation, even to help animals like little Hope. Officers like these do an outstanding job, and they make a significant difference in the lives of people living in their local communities. The world certainly needs more people like Garibaldi who are willing to make sure that every dog has a happy ending.