BRPD officers buy clothes with their own money for shivering baby

BRPD officers buy clothes with their own money for shivering baby
Officer James Rowe, Officer Tomas Quintero, Cpl. Hue Pham (Source: WAFB)
Officer James Rowe, Officer Tomas Quintero, Cpl. Hue Pham (Source: WAFB)
Christine Hussey (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)
Christine Hussey (Source: East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A uniform and badge means to protect and serve, but Buddy Berry wanted three officers recognizing for what he said was them going above and beyond their job requirements.

It was 4:19 p.m. on November 22 when Berry pulled into the RaceTrac on O'Neal Lane to get some gas. He said he saw Christine Hussey, 31, holding her baby.

"I watched the child fall and hit his head on the concrete and the child was wearing clothes that didn't cover the legs, didn't cover the arms. It was 54, 53 degrees that afternoon. It was quite cold," said Berry.

Berry said the baby was dressed only in a onesie, while his mother was dressed for the cold weather. He said three Baton Rouge police officers arrived around when the mother was in the nearby Dollar Tree with her baby.

"One of the police officers went to the squad car, came back out with his jacket and put the jacket around the baby inside the basket to make him warm," said Berry.

But that's not all, he said another officer went above and beyond so much so Berry couldn't hold back his emotions.

"I consider myself a very strong man, but sometimes I get teary eyed," said Berry.

Berry wanted so badly to meet those three officers and thank them personally, so we helped set that up.

"I just wanted to thank you as a citizen of Baton Rouge that you guys deserve a thanks from somebody for what you did, above and beyond," Berry told the three officers.

Tomas Quintero was the first officer to arrive on scene. Officer James Rowe is the one who covered the shivering baby with his own jacket.

"It was really tough to see a kid in that situation because a kid can't care for himself," said Rowe. "'When you have a parent or guardian that's there and it's neglecting the child and I'm there, I have to do something about it and it's not because I'm a police officer. It's because I'm a human being."

Cpl. Hue Pham didn't know how long it would be before the baby's mother would be arrested and how long the infant would be in the cold so he took it upon himself.

"I went back and purchased some socks, whatever they sold there and I bought him the smallest size tee-shirt they had and a couple of pairs of socks to put on him," said Pham.

He used his own money saying even with a jacket on, he was cold so knew the baby had to be cold.

"It's a feeling that I know he's warm. Whatever I gave him, he's going to be in good hands and I'm pretty much serving my community to the best of my ability," said Pham.

As for Berry, he simply witnessed the scene but made it a point to acknowledge the humanity in the police officers.

"It changed my attitude toward some of the police because you know lately, all we hear is the bad police officers in other parts of the country where people are being shot, people are being arrested," said Berry. "Police officers, they're really not paid well. They have a tough job. They don't get the thanks they should get for taking care of us and taking that extra step for taking money out of their own pocket to help someone in our community. They didn't have to do that."

What Berry called 'officers going above and beyond,' the men call their duty, but Berry acknowledging they are more than badged men means the world to them.

"It's a lot of negative criticism towards police these days so any time we get somebody to say 'thank you, we appreciate your services,' you guys have no idea how much that means to us because we deal with a lot," said Rowe.

"Means a lot when we can get a thanks for doing a job," said Quintero.

The baby's mother, Hussey, was arrested for having drugs like marijuana, crystal meth and Xanax on her and cruelty to a juvenile.

Pham stayed with the baby at the hospital to make sure he was in good hands.

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