The neighborhood kids used to be afraid of cops. Now, they get excited whenever Officer C.B. Fleming shows up.
As WTVR reports, on Valentine’s Day, the Mecklenburg Manor apartments in South Hill, Virginia had a reported gas leak. Fleming was one of the emergency personnel dispatched to investigate the threat.
Once he had determined there was no danger, Fleming turned his attention to the neighborhood children he had noticed when he arrived — a group of girls playing with dolls and a pair of boys who were coloring.
Posted by Iesha Roper Boswell on Thursday, February 14, 2019
Fleming got down on the ground to play dolls and color with the children. He instantly won the heart of a local mom. Iesha Roper-Boswell said she had told the officer her daughter was afraid of the police and had to capture the moment on camera:
“I was telling him that my daughter, my niece, and some of the other children here were afraid of cops. So when he came and played with them, I captured that moment, not because I thought it would go viral, but it was amazing that my niece didn’t break out into tears.”
When that video was widely shared online, Roper-Boswell wasn’t surprised. “People need the positivity,” she added.
Fleming has four children and has fostered two more, so relating to kids comes naturally to him — something that’s obvious when you see how he’s now regarded in the neighborhood. When WTVR went with the officer to the apartments, the children came running to see their new hero.
A false alarm gas leak turned into a full out play session in Mecklenburg Manor today! We definitely need more cops like him!!! Thanks for taking the time out to play with the kids!!
A 15 year veteran of the force, Fleming said he hopes his success in connecting with the families in this neighborhood will help improve police relations:
“We had a lot of calls here when I first started. I figured if I could let them know that I was an anchor point, that they could come and talk to me and trust me, then I could do some good.”
He took the time to talk to the kids about how to call 911 and get his help, but this isn’t just about making the children comfortable. He added:
“I want everyone, not just the kids … but the moms and dads … to know that they can come to me.”
On social media, Fleming’s approach earned kudos from those who appreciated what he was trying to accomplish.
And Roper-Boswell is among his biggest fans. “We definitely need more cops like him,” she wrote on Facebook.
The mom told WTVR that she’s grateful Fleming made the effort to reach out to the children. Now, her daughter is much more comfortable with the police:
“For him to make my child feel like she’s safe, she doesn’t even have to call 911, she just has to call C.B. if she’s in trouble. I’m glad he made this part of his job. He’s changed my daughter and niece’s lives.”
Fleming told WTVR that reaching out to kids is, “something I’ve always tried to do,” in his job:
“When I got into this job, I knew there was something different, other than just writing tickets and being the bad person all the time. I figured if I could be that bright spot in someone’s day then that’s all that mattered.”