BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — A Bristol police officer is receiving kudos – but not for a big arrest or tracking down a bad guy – rather for playing a pickup game of basketball with a boy in the community.
Turns out the boy has high functioning autism and, according to his parent, has trouble making friends. That’s where Officer Michael Kelly comes in. The boy was shooting hoops at the park and Officer Kelly walked over to him and joined in on the fun.
The Bristol Police Department posted the video of the encounter on the department Facebook page along with the following message from the boy’s parent.
“This is Officer Mike Kelly of the Bristol Police Department playing basketball with my son. My son is high functioning autistic and he has a really hard time joining in with other kids. He really doesn’t have the social skills and it kills me to watch because I know how desperately he wants to fit in. He was shooting hoops at the park today and Officer Kelly walked over to him and introduced himself and shot some hoops with him. To have Mike Kelly pay him some attention like this, even for just a few minutes meant the world to him. And to me. I just wanted the members of the Bristol Police to know how much this community values our police department and I want Officer Kelly to know how much that meant to me. As a police Officer myself for over 18 years and as someone who has trained thousands of cops, I can tell you that THIS is what makes a good cop. It’s not about how many arrests you get or how tough you think you are. It’s how you treat people. And Mike Kelly made a huge difference in my son’s day today. Thank you Mike for your kindness. That said, you really need to work on your jump shot”