Two Madison police officers are being recognized for their efforts to help a homeless family found on State Street.
A downtown patrol officer noticed a pile of blankets and some belongings in the 200 block of State Street Sunday morning and was called back to the site a short time later when a man said he heard a baby crying. The officer said she found four adults and six children huddled together under the blanket.
The extended family included a 5-month-old, a 9-year-old and a 13-year-old.
The adults told the officer they escaped shootings in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. They told the officer it was just too dangerous to stay.
The officer said the family appeared to have been living on the streets for a couple of weeks.
She and another officer started contacting organizations to help the family and found three churches, First United Methodist, Second Baptist, and Community of Hope UCC, to help with food or money for short term hotel stays.
The officers supplied them with a few items donated to the MPD for those times when officers encounter people in crisis: stuffed animals, blankets and books.
A MPD sergeant, who assisted in the move from the streets, said one of the group's adult men "was choked up and had difficulty expressing himself. Clearly his gratitude was overwhelming," he said.
The sergeant submitted a performance recognition report commending the officers for showing compassion and empathy.
“They could have checked the welfare of the children and left; the day was warming and no further threat. They did not. They made sure that this family was provided reprieve from the unpleasant reality their current situation has provided,” the statement read.
Members of the family are seeking or have found work.