A police officer photographed buying a homeless man a coffee and some lunch says it was “just another day at work”.
Constable Dave Simpson was working in Launceston when he stopped to chat with a man outside a cafe earlier this week.
“I already knew he was living rough, I’ve interacted with him before, but he has never caused us any trouble,” he said.
“So I gave him a bit of advice and started walking away, then I sort of thought to myself how have I made his day any better? I hadn’t really made a positive impact so I walked back.
“I offered to buy him a coffee and some hot food, he looked pretty shocked and his face lit up, he said he hadn’t eaten in a while.”
As they sat and talked, a woman nearby photographed them.
“We sat down together outside, he really opened up and started to tell me his story,” Constable Simpson said.
“It was a private conversation, but before I left he shook my hand and said nobody had ever asked how he was before.”
The photo was shared tens of thousands of times online this week, with thousands of comments praising Constable Simpson.
Among the comments was one from Ben Barrett, who welcomed a good news story involving police.
“And yet, some people within the community are essentially raised to see officers in nothing but a negative light, straight away throwing out derogatory comments towards them no matter what they are doing,” he said.
“Guarantee every officer I know would rather sit down like this and interact with the community rather than be stuck out in the rain running an RBT.”
Another commenter, Jenni Dakota-Beau McNamee, recalled a time when an officer helped her.
“Many years ago I had a police officer care about me for a moment and it took me from a very dark place where life could have so easily ended and lifted me up to the light to where I am now,” she said.
“Policing isn't just all about catching those that break the law, but to also help direct those that need help to a better place.”
While the comments were all positive, Constable Simpson said he was “a bit embarrassed” by all the praise.
“I work with not just police in Tassie, but right across the country who are doing things just as good as this, if not better, every single day,” he said.
“It’s not the first time I have bought a coffee for a homeless person, it just so happens this time someone snuck a photo in.”
Constable Simpson is one of the club officers at Launceston’s PCYC and works with at-risk youth.
“The area I work in, I’m not out on the front line anymore everyday like my colleagues are, so I’m lucky I have a little bit more time to sit down and interact with people,” he said.
“I work mainly with youth, but the loneliness and isolation doesn't differentiate between ages, it affects everyone.”
IN OTHER NEWS:
While you're with us, did you know that you can now sign up to receive breaking news updates direct to your inbox? Sign up here.