Ocala, Florida — Citizens have no way of knowing what types of dangers or monsters a law enforcement officer encounters on a daily basis.
The disrespect toward officers that Ocala Post witnessed following shots being fired from a neighborhood near the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion on July 12 was just one example of what law enforcement endure every day.
As of lately, it seems that the public’s perception of law enforcement across the county is that all law enforcement officers are badge-wearing criminals.
It is also not surprising that some media outlets have played a significant role in helping the public form that perception.
And while recent cases across the country have involved both good and bad officers; one would hope that the average person would be smart enough to know that one bad law enforcement officer does not spoil the whole bunch.
Often times, the good that a law enforcement officer does goes unnoticed.
But not today.
TiAnna S. Greene, of Ocala, said that what she saw an Ocala Police Officer do on Thursday morning made her day.
Greene, who does not know the officer, said she was blessed to witness the officer taking time out of her morning to have breakfast with a homeless man.
“Although I was the only person blessed to witness less than two minutes of her kindness that definitely came from the heart, it truly made my morning,” Greene wrote. “This absolutely wonderful act of kindness seemed to come naturally to [the officer].”
Greene said it appeared that the officer purchased the breakfast for the man and had decided to eat with him.
And as it turns out, Greene was right.
Through previous contact, Ocala Post was able to identify the officer as OPD Officer Sergeant Erica Hay.
At first, Sergeant Hay was very reluctant to speak with Ocala Post because she did not want the attention, and she was extremely humble about the entire situation.
“I absolutely did not do this for attention,” Sergeant Hay said. “I was heading to Dunkin’ Donuts to get breakfast when I saw this man sitting by himself, so, I decided to buy him breakfast. I then went over, sat down, and ate breakfast with him.”
She went on to say, “He turned out to be a very nice man who just has a sad story.” She added, “He is a person.”
She said, “I never met the man until today.”
“He was a very nice man. He appreciated the conversation and the breakfast,” Sergeant Hay said.
Many have expressed their gratitude toward TiAnna S. Greene for taking the time out of her day to shoot this photo, and then share it with the community.
OPD said, “Thank you TiAnna S. Greene, for sharing this example of our officers’ commitment and concern for all of the citizens in our community. We commend Sgt. Hay for serving Ocala with heart.”
Greene said, “I wasn’t expecting this [attention] at all. I just wanted to share because it truly touched me and brightened my day.”
Ocala Post could not locate the man for an interview.