Three Conway officers have recently helped to shine a positive light on local law enforcement, and it has not gone unnoticed.
Last week, a Conway resident reached out to the Conway Police Department to say thanks and send a shout out to officers Tim Gray and Collin Bierle for helping a woman and her elderly mother after the two were forced to spend the night in their car after running out of gas.
"This morning, Officer Tim Gray and Officer C. Bierle came across a lady and her 85-year-old mom who ran out of gas yesterday at 5:30 p.m.," a message sent Friday to Conway police reads. "They had no money and would not get paid until next week. No one had stopped to help them last night and as a result, they ended up sleeping in their car along with their dog, cat and all of their possessions."
After learning about the situation these women were in, Gray and Beirle stepped up to the plate and acted quickly by providing the mother and daughter with gas and a place to stay.
"When they heard this, Officer Gray went and got enough gas to get their car started and told them to follow him up the road so he could fill up their tank," the thankful message reads. "While he was pumping their gas, Officer Bierle called and found a hotel that accepted pets and paid for them to stay a week. Not all cops are bad. Officer[s] Gray and Beirle are living proof. The Conway Police Department has so many good ones. We're blessed to live in a community where the majority of the officers have hearts of gold."
Gray and Bierle each said they felt it was their duty to help serve these women in their time of need.
Being involved in law enforcement is more than enforcing the law, Gray said, noting he believes it's import to support the city's residents whenever possible.
"At the end of the day, it's not about how many people you arrest or how many people you stop for traffic violations, it's more about forging relationships with the citizens of Conway," he said Friday afternoon. "Conway PD is all about community-oriented policing — any time we can help a local citizen or someone just passing through makes an impact and shows what kind of city we are."
In this particular incident, Bierle said it was evident these woman needed assistance.
Leaving them to fend for themselves would not be beneficial for anyone. However, by helping these women, he said he and Gray were able to provide the mother and daughter with a safe place to stay and also leave a lasting impression.
By providing these women a safe place to stay, these officers were able to continue their mission to help serve others, Gray said, noting the mother and daughter were out of money and were forced to stay in their car in the hot, rising temperatures.
"Ultimately, our job here at the police department is certainly civil service. It doesn't always mean taking someone to jail; it could be helping to change somebody's tire or helping them load their groceries," he said, adding that he personally takes responsibility to help others whenever possible. "I've been blessed in so many ways that if I'm able to help somebody else, I'll pass it on."
Two weeks ago, Conway officer Mike Fuentes helped out an elderly woman who lost her keys and was afraid her home would be burglarized.
A call for service regarding stolen keys came in through Conway's dispatch center around 7:45 a.m. June 10 as the victim was headed out to church.
When Fuentes arrived at the 85-year-old woman's Brier Springs residence, he learned she was headed out to church when she noticed her keys had gone missing.
"[The woman] stated that she was walking out her front door to go to church ... [and] went back inside her house to use the restroom and left her keys in the lock," according to an incident report. "[The 85-year-old] advised [Fuentes] that when she returned, her keys were gone."
Fuentes helped the woman search for her keys. When their efforts showed no success, he took it upon himself to head over to Lowe's Home Improvement and buy the woman a new lock for her door. He also installed the new lock for her.
While the woman found her keys several days later, Fuentes said his main purpose behind this act was to provide the woman with a sense of security.
"It just made her feel safe," he said of his decision. "At the time, she didn't have any family in town. I went back later on that day to check on her to see how she was doing. I try to do as many follow-ups as I can, but we have a heavy call load."
Becoming a member of the law enforcement community was important to Fuentes because he loves to help people, and he said this instance was one of those occasions where he was able affect someone's life positively and provide them with a genuine sense of security. This part of the job is the best part of being involved with law enforcement, he said.
"Aside from enforcing the law, my job is to serve the citizens of Conway," Fuentes said. "That is my job and [this woman] was scared to death at the time. I figured that since she couldn't find her keys and thought they were stolen from her lock, that [providing her with a new lock] was the least I could do to give her the sense of security she needed."
CPD spokesman LaTresha Woodruff said the police department is proud of these three men and commends their "extraordinary deeds."
"Being a police officer isn't just about enforcing laws," she said. "Here at Your Conway Police Department, our officers really care about our community and show it in so many ways."