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Whiteland police officer reaches into own pocket to help homeless man

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Whiteland, IN (March 7, 2016) - A Whiteland Police officer is receiving high praise on social media after a weekend encounter with a homeless panhandler.

Police body camera footage posted to the Whiteland Police Department’s Facebook page shows the Saturday encounter between Whiteland Officer Tyler Croy and a man asking for money at the corner of I-65 and Whiteland Road.

In the video, officer Croy approaches the man and gives him a verbal warning.

“Unfortunately, it is against the city of Whiteland, the town of Whiteland to solicit without a permit,” officer Croy says in the video.

The man shows officer Croy his sign, which says “Homeless, please help, God bless.”  After talking with the man for a couple minutes, officer Croy offers the man $3, which was the only cash he had on him.

“If he’s homeless and he’s out there, obviously struggling, what’s a 100 dollar ticket going to do for him,” officer Croy said.  “Absolutely nothing.”

In the video, officer Croy can be heard offering the man the cash, and suggesting nearby places where he could find something to eat.

“Um, I’ve got three bucks, okay?  So go Arby’s, go McDonalds, get something from the dollar menu, okay.  Get you a drink.  Get water, get whatever you want, okay,” Croy told the man.

Overcome with emotion, the man responds with tears.  That’s when officer Croy reaches out to give the man a hug.

“Are you crying on me?  It’s alright, you’ll be fine.  Here come here, you’re good.”

“I just did what any caring person would do, and I just gave him a hug,” Croy said.  “Because a lot of times that’s just what people need.”

Whiteland Police Chief, Rick Shipp said he was happy to post the video to the department’s Facebook page when officer Croy approached him about it.  He called the officer’s actions a good representation of what police officers around the nation do every day.

“Many officers throughout my career, I’ve seen, get in their pocket and help somebody that’s down on their luck,” Shipp said.  “So I thought it was a very good gesture that Officer Croy did.”

Since being posted on the department’s Facebook page, the video has been shared hundreds of times.  Among the comments have been more than one offer of employment for the homeless man.  Officer Croy said he was working to reestablish contact with the man in an effort to connect him with potential employers.

“It’s awesome to go out there and make an impact on someone’s life, regardless of what it may be,” Croy said.  “And I just got lucky and I got to be a police officer and do it.”