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June 2016

Officer Timothy Purdy

Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department

Washington, DC—The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Officer Timothy Purdy, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department (CMPD), as the recipient of its Officer of the Month Award for June 2016.

On May 8, 2016, Officer Timothy Purdy was dispatched to be on the lookout for an autistic, and potentially suicidal, teenager who had a long history of violence toward law enforcement officers due to his mental disability. He had left his high school in Charlotte, NC, without permission.

Officer Purdy found the high school student in the parking lot of a local park, and immediately tried to de-escalate the situation when he became aware that the teen was in an agitated state. Trying to connect with the student, Officer Purdy sat next to him in the parking lot and spoke with him for 20 minutes.

As they talked, the young man began to warm up to the officer and laugh, and eventually, was able to get the help that he needed.

“I could tell that it looked like it was going to get into a situation that wasn’t going to be good for anybody,” Officer Purdy said. “I’m an instructor out at the academy and what I tell officers coming through is ‘make sure you treat people the way that you’d want your loved ones to be treated. Picture the situation where that might be your loved one needing help.’”

The officer’s interaction with the teenager was documented with a photo posted on the police department’s Facebook page, where it gained international recognition.

“Tim (Purdy) doesn’t even have Facebook,” said Robert Tufano, CMPD PIO. “It’s all foreign to him how this whole thing developed.”

“The whole situation has been overwhelming from the responses from the community and my fellow officers. I don't think I can say enough what an honor this is. It’s surreal at this point, and very humbling,” Officer Purdy said.

“Policing goes beyond enforcement,” CMPD Chief of Police Kerr Putney said. “Sometimes it’s the little things officers do that make the biggest difference.”

“Officer Purdy demonstrated that law enforcement is often more than solving crimes and chasing criminals,” Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd said. “It’s about compassion, and Officer Purdy’s ability to help this young man the way that he did, earns him the June 2016 Officer of the Month Award.”

Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.

Officer Timothy Purdy, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2016, will be honored during National Police Week at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2017.

Police Unity Tour The Police Unity Tour is the official sponsor of the Memorial Fund's Officer of the Month Program.