Cedar Park cops buy car seats instead of issuing tickets
CEDAR PARK, Texas-- A traffic stop in Cedar Park leads to an incredible act of kindness. A father says what officers did was actually a blessing.
On Saturday, K9 Officer Justin Gower noticed a truck with an expired registration sticker and a defective taillight, so he flipped on his lights signaling for the driver to pull over.
"I remembered the vehicle description. Other officers had been out with this car before," Officer Gower said.
Gower had never pulled the driver over before. He called for one of the officers, who had to come over.
When Officer Cale Hawkins walked up the door, the driver remembered him. He recalls Gower telling him that there was a problem as he pointed to the back seat.
"I noticed there were three young kids in the back with no car seats," Gower said.
The children are ages one, three and four.
"Giving them tickets at the time wasn't going to fix it. This man had been living in his car to save money to bring his family down to Texas from the north," Gower said.
"I did see he was with his family, which is what he said the last time I spoke to him," Hawkins said.
Both officers say the gentleman was honest and polite but seemed to have fallen on hard times. He works but was trying to pay for a hotel room for his family.
The two officers, who are also fathers, made a decision.
"We stepped aside and talked about it," Gower said.
"We finally said let's go the fastest path and get these kids in seats," Hawkins said.
Instead of tickets, Hawkins drove to Walmart. The two officers spent a total of $145 for three car seats.
"He wasn't mad at us for pulling him over. He understood the situation and took responsibility. He got emotional and was grateful," Hawkins said.
It's an act of kindness Chief Sean Mannix is proud of. "They could have followed the letter of the law and given them tickets, but that would have set them back even further. Instead they provided that safety equipment," Mannix said.
The traffic stop turned into a gift that could save these young lives.
"It was a good encounter for us all," Hawkins said.