Act of kindness by New Jersey police officer caught on camera

ByAshley Johnson WPVI logo
Monday, July 13, 2020
NJ police officer's act of kindness caught on camera
A body camera video showing a police officer's generosity recently exploded on Facebook.

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A body camera video showing a police officer's generosity recently exploded on Facebook.

John Freitag, a veteran officer in Washington Township, was at a Wawa when a man had trouble paying for his gas.

"Within the first few minutes I find out that there was an issue with his credit card and it was like a light bulb," said Freitag.

Freitag said what he did a few weeks ago was simply the right thing to do.

Officers are required to use bodycam footage when called out to any stop. The department posted Freitag's video never imagining it would go viral.

"A lot of times in the situations that we are faced with we don't have an opportunity to show our compassion and our empathy for people, so I was blessed to have that opportunity to be able to impact someone's day," Frietag said.

Washington Township Police say what's known as "community caretaking" is part of their philosophy.

The chief shared a form which officers fill out at the end of every shift and there's a space for them to share how they went the extra mile to help a community member.

"We're community caretakers first, we're guardians of the community. We're not warriors. We're here to protect the community and look out for the community," Chief Patrick Gurcsik said.

The department says this video comes at a good time when police across the country have been under scrutiny for killings like George Floyd.

But Washington Township Police say they strive everyday to gain the community's respect.

"I think people get lost that underneath the uniform we are human beings and we do have feelings, we do have feelings of empathy, compassion," Freitag said.