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Washington Officer Responds to Shoplifting Call by Buying Clothes and Food for Suspect’s Children

Washington Officer Responds to Shoplifting Call by Buying Clothes and Food for Suspect’s Children

by Leah AnayaDecember 10, 2020

Auburn, WA – It’s no secret that 2020 has brought on some hard times to many in our nation. One officer in Washington recognized a mother’s need to care for her children and opted to show kindness and empathy rather than follow the letter of the law.

Officer Nicholas King of the Auburn Police Department was dispatched to a report of a shoplifting at Walmart. The store security was holding the mother, who has not been identified, in their office for attempting to shoplift children’s clothes and food.

When he arrived, he saw that the mother, who he’d recognized from around town as a homeless woman with five children, was attempting to get out of the store without paying for items to care for the children. Officer King, holding back tears, told local news affiliate Q13 Fox, “It was just overwhelming to see…that’s often hard to deal with.”

Officer King, rather than issue the woman a citation or place her under arrest, instead paid for the items with his own money.

He said he had met the homeless family on the streets before and he wanted to make sure they were warm and cared for during this cold, pandemic winter. Officer King as four children himself and was able to empathize with the mother’s situation. King said, “Makes you definitely appreciate your family a little bit more when you see stuff like that and appreciate the luxuries and the things we have in life.”

King served in the military before joining the police department four-and-a-half years ago. He said he joined the department because he wanted to continue his mission to help his community. He said, “Make an impact in people’s lives. There’s a lot of people that need help am so feel like I’ve been blessed to be in a position in order to serve people.”

Officer King continued, “Being human and paying it forward to the best of your ability. If you’re in a position to help and you see somebody that needs help, we need to break the stigma of not accepting handouts or helping people. Helping people is what we should do. It’s humanity to its core.”

Auburn PD awarded Officer King with a certificate for the act of kindness. Officer King also said the mother is receiving services and resources in King County to help her family’s situation.

The President of the Washington Fraternal Order of Police, Marco Monteblanco, said, “This is the epitome of modern policing. Yes, we catch the bad guys, but it’s so much more than that. We are here to serve our community, and sometimes that means meeting people on a human level and serving them in a different way.

“We are proud to have Nicholas King in our ranks as a Washington FOP member. He is a prime example of the compassion our members show on a daily basis.”

About The Author
Leah Anaya
Leah Anaya
Leah Anaya is a medically retired police officer. She served for three years at the Oakland Police Department, and just under five at a department in Washington State. Before that, she was an intelligence analyst in the US Army. She is now a stay at home mom living with her husband, who is still serving as a police officer, and their three children. She also grew up as the daughter of a police officer in California. Leah is now a writer and Deputy Editor at Law Enforcement News Network as well as the Business Manager for Washington State FOP. She's a peer support advocate for The Wounded Blue and Serve and Protect. You can find her on social media @leahmsanaya or at
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