An Illinois man starts a new job Tuesday and he has a police officer to thank for getting him to his interview.
Ka’Shawn Baldwin, of East St. Louis, was pulled over Wednesday in Cahokia by officer Roger Gemoulesfor allegedly having expired license plates. Baldwin also did not have a valid driver’s license.
“I was nervous. I was thinking, I was just going to get some more tickets and have some more fines that I really can’t afford to pay,” Baldwin told NBC News.
Gemoules, a high school resource officer with the Cahokia Police Department, was on patrol that day because school was closed for spring break.
Baldwin, 22, said he knew his driver’s license was suspended but he was unaware the license plates on the car he had borrowed from a friend were expired.
“The routine thing is to tow the car and take the person to jail who is driving the car,” Baldwin said.
He told the officer that he did not have any other way to get to his interview at an area FedEx facility and that’s why he was driving illegally.
Gemoules explained to Baldwin that the car could not be driven any further.
With no other option, Baldwin then asked the officer if he would give him a ride to his interview.
To his surprise, Baldwin said Gemoules followed him home where he parked the car and took him to his interview.
Gemoules said he could tell Baldwin really wanted the job.
“He was polite when I pulled him over and he seemed like a good young man, so I wanted to give him a chance,” Gemoules told NBC affiliate KSDK in St. Louis. “I knew if I gave him a bunch of tickets and towed his car, it would be tough to recover from.”
Later that day, Baldwin wrote about the experience in a Facebook post that went viral.
When he learned over the weekend that he had landed the job as a package handler, Baldwin, who currently works at a McDonald’s, said he messaged Gemoules on Facebook to let him know and thank him again.
Gemoules has since been lauded by his department and the Cahokia mayor for his actions.
“On behalf of Mayor Curtis McCall Jr., I would like to thank Officer Gemoules for showing compassion and being a great example of how community oriented policing actually works,” the mayor’s assistant, Francella Jackson, said on Facebook.
Baldwin said the interaction was unlike any other he has ever witnessed involving an officer in his neighborhood and it has given him a newfound respect for those who work in law enforcement.
“I never looked at police in a negative manner or in a positive manner,” Baldwin said. “I never looked at them in any manner. But this just made me give them more respect than I did before.”