CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — On any ordinary day, officers Justin Gower and Cale Hawkins get in their cars to patrol the streets of Cedar Park. But what happened during a traffic stop Saturday, was something neither experienced before.
“I was upset because it’s extremely dangerous,” says Officer Gower. Gower says he stopped a car at a gas station on South Bell Boulevard; inside, was a 1-year-old, 3-year-old and 4-year-old, and none of them were in car seats. “I have kids and I know how fragile they are, especially how young these kids were.”
Officer Hawkins says he actually stopped the father earlier this month. He knew the dad’s struggles to save money for his family, so the officers didn’t give out a ticket.
“They’re trying to get things going, they’re going in the right direction, and to issue them three citations for each child, would just devastate them,” says Gower.
Instead, they pooled their money with some other officers, and bought the family three new car seats.
“Money is not the issue, it’s the issue of can you help them, and so that was the easiest way we saw, the fastest path to helping them,” says Hawkins.
Officers coming through during a different kind of emergency, a family and children in need. The family didn’t want to go on camera, but they say they really needed the car seats, and the officers have been a blessing.
In 2013, Cedar Park Police handed out 42 tickets for failing to properly secure a child under 8 years old. In 2014, police gave out 49 tickets, and so far this year, they’ve issued 21 tickets.