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Police officers pay for hotels and bus tickets to help their community

New programs help police officers
Robert Bonds
Posted at 4:10 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 11:04:05-04

Corpus Christi police officers said they are going above and beyond to make sure people in need have resources to help them. One man was able to get back on his feet from one of those programs.

Robert Bonds said when he recently experienced a psychological breakdown, CCPD was called and mental health Officer Shawn Barnes was able to get him the help he needed.

“He pulled me out of a dire situation," Bonds said. "I have no family here."

Barnes said when officers are called out to handle a dispute, there are times when people can't stay in the home because they fear their partner. And if outside resources such as shelters and centers are at capacity, or they cannot accommodate them, where do they go? What happens next?

“And that is where historically officers have purchased people hotel rooms and bus tickets to get them reunited with families — out of their own pockets," Barnes said.

“The comfort that he gave, it’s not just showing up, it’s actually going into that person’s situation and actually talking about it and calming that person down," Bonds said. "He calmed me down before he even got me out of the house. I was hysterical."

Grace Presbyterian Church’s program, A Night of Grace has been around for about a year. It has partnered with three hotels in Corpus Christi to immediately help officers get rooms for people in need. When an officers says a person needs a place to stay, and shelters and centers are unable to help, police are able to offer the program to those in need.

This program is specifically officer-initiated not initiated by the person.

A Way Home, through Rising Tide Ministries, lets officers help a homeless person get a ride to different cities and states to reunite them with friends, family, or to get to other homeless shelters. The only criteria that must be met is that the person is homeless, and they have a place to go at the new location.

Officer Skyler Baker told us there are dozens of success stories with these programs.

“Two wonderful programs that stepped up and are actually making a huge impact," said Baker.

Barnes said he, personally, has helped place 15 people in hotels, including families and kids. Being in law enforcement for 13 years, he said these programs make the officers feel like they have an extra resource to use when others are exhausted.

“To have two entities step up to the plate to be able to accommodate this is beautiful," said Barnes.

Bonds said A Night of Grace saved his life, and the program taught him about the importance of prioritizing his mental health.

“I am not the only one in my family that suffers from it, and I really have to take it seriously, because I wasn’t me," said Barnes.

if you would like to donate to A Night of Grace click here.

If you would like to donate to A Way Home click here.