ENOCH – Six unsuspecting motorists got the surprise of the season Tuesday morning when Enoch police officers pulled them over for an infraction, but gave them money instead to help with their holiday.
Whether it was for speeding, failure to use a turn signal, or blowing a stop sign, each of the drivers pulled over by the Enoch officers were subject to a legitimate traffic stop, Enoch Police Sgt. Mike Berg said.
“None of these were huge violations,” he said, “but they actually were legitimate traffic stops.”
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Ed. note: The camera’s date and time stamp shown in parts of the YouTube video is a glitch, Berg said; all of the footage reflects events on Tuesday.
It all began six months ago when the Enoch Police Department received a sizable donation of cash to do something similar to this, Berg said. They chose to set the money aside for a later date, unsure then of exactly what they were going to do with it, he said.
“Then we had another gentleman just walk in off of the street last Tuesday,” Berg said, “and he gave the Police Department a $100 bill and he said, ‘I just want you guys to use this for someone in your community …. So, we decided that now was a good time – people can always use a little extra cash before Christmas and it’s not very often that we get to serve our community in that capacity.”
This was the first time in his 10-year career in law enforcement, Berg said, that he has ever gotten to do something of this nature. It was a memory that will last him the rest of his life, he said. All five of Enoch’s police officers participated in what Berg called a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“Ninety-nine percent of our job is stressful, it’s full of emotion, and it’s difficult,” he said. “This 1 percent today – this two hours that we spent serving the community, or serving the citizens – can completely refresh me for the next year.”
In all, $600 was given away Tuesday morning in $100 increments. Facebook posts began to pop up on group pages like Cedar City Rant and Rave and Cedar City Blog shop where the wife of one recipient, Alicia Holland, shared her gratitude with the surrounding community.
A big thank you to the police that ‘pulled over’ my husband on Minersville Hwy. He has been having a really bad night and morning, and the ‘gift’ you gave us will definitely make it a special Christmas.
In another post on her personal page, Holland said she had a bill that could be paid with those funds, and that they were excited to be able to put more money towards making their Christmas holiday special without the weight of that bill hanging over their heads.
It was an emotional experience for many of the drivers they pulled over, Berg said. Some reacted in utter disbelief, others burst into tears of relief and joy, but all of them were caught candidly on camera by the Enoch City Police who filmed the whole thing and created a video that they posted to their Facebook page. As of 9 a.m., Christmas Eve, the video that posted only 12 hours previously had been shared 81 times.
As police officers it is their duty to protect the community, Berg said, but in a time where the nation has grown “so anti-law enforcement,” just going to work every day can sometimes be a scary prospect. It is difficult to let their guard down when approaching any vehicle on a traffic stop, he said, because officers rarely know what to expect when they make initial contact. This experience however, gave Enoch police a chance to do just a little bit more – connect with their community members.
“Even on these stops, there is still caution until they get the feel of things,” he said. “And then, from then on, it’s almost like we’re a puddle – I mean, we have emotions too, whether people believe it, or not.”
“Three of us were all sitting in the car after one of them wiping tears away from our eyes,” Berg said,”and they were tears of joy, because we got to help someone else in their lives in a way that we may never get to do again.”
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