Police officers entered a 65-year-old disabled veteran’s home on Monday without a warrant- to administer much-needed repairs to his dilapidated home.
Officers of the North County Police Cooperative stormed veteran Fred Reeves’ house armed with appliances, spackle and caulk guns,taking time on their collective day off to ensure the Pine Lawn resident’s home was not only up to spec by Thursday.
Prior to the philanthropic police raid, the veteran had deteriorating conditions, including no working refrigerator or stove.
Chief Tim Swope had coordinated the mission after securing a $5,000 grant from Home Depot, as well as an additional required $1,000 due to unexpected damages found in relation to Reeves’ plumbing system. A local Holiday Inn will take Reeves in while his home is under renovation.
Reeves was overwhelmed by the act of kindness and insisted on helping with the project. Despite suffering from seizures, a bad knee and instructions from officers to take it easy, the aging veteran demanded he do his part.
“I am very grateful for what they’re all doing for me, but it kind of makes me a little upset, too, in a way, because to me, it feels like a handout,” he said. “This is my house, it’s my responsibility. But I just can’t do all this work. I really thank the Lord for what they’re all doing.”
Pine Lawn Mayor Terry Epps said that even after a forty-year career in law enforcement, the event has taught him a new lesson.
“I always thought of community policing as, ‘Get out of your car, walk in the neighborhood, maybe bounce a basketball with some kids,’ but this really goes far beyond where I ever thought community policing would go,” he said.
Volunteering for a task they knew a little something about, Detective Jeff Wiley and Lt. Jeff Crouch renovate and sell homes in their spare time.
“This is a different way of helping somebody,” Wiley said.
According to the St.Louis Post-Dispatch, Reeves felt the community could learn from the officers, who he didn’t even realize were police until he was informed of their occupations.
“This is going to show these people out here that they really care about you,” Reeves said, pointing to the slew of vacant and run-down homes on his block. “Why act a fool and pull a gun on them? You are their employer. They are here to serve you.”
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