Advancing National Service

Meet the Police Officer Who Went Beyond the Call of Duty to Keep a Teen Off the Streets

May 13, 2014
by
Menu
Meet the Police Officer Who Went Beyond the Call of Duty to Keep a Teen Off the Streets
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Officer Gaetano Acerra helped give a troubled 13-year-old his first real bedroom.

A police officer and a teenager are an unlikely pairing. But this South Carolina teen and a public safety official have found friendship.

Cameron Simmons, 13, called the Sumter, South Carolina, police after having a fight with his mother, WIS-TV reports, telling them that he was upset and that he no longer wanted to live at home. Officer Gaetano Acerra responded to the call, and when he stopped by Simmons’ home, the officer realized that the boy didn’t have a bed (he was sleeping on a deflated air mattress that hurt his back) — or even much of a room, period.

“My heart went out for him,” Acerra told the news station. “I thought the little things that he needed I could give him, to make him a happier kid.”

Weeks later, the policeman went back to the home bearing gifts, such as a bed, television, desk, chair, and a Wii game system that somebody donated as a result of hearing Simmons’s story. WIS-TV reports that Acerra is planning on bringing more furniture including a dresser and mirror. The two have also exchanged numbers to stay in touch.

MORE: New Mexico Needed Police Officers, So Why Not Put Some Vets To Work?

Acerra’s incredible gesture first made news when Ferdinando, his proud older brother, posted the touching story and photo of Simmons and Acerra on Facebook. (Not surprisingly, it’s been liked more than 50,000 times.) “I didn’t do this for publicity or to get people to notice me,” Acerra told WIS-TV. “I did it because I could. It was the right thing to do and I think people should do things like this.”

Incredibly, a spokesperson from the police department told the station that some people have been so moved by the story that they’ve asked what they could do to help out the Simmons family.

Now that’s a class act.

[ph]

Comments