A police officer was honored Tuesday for his work investigating a child abuse case and later adopting the victim he rescued, as well as the boy’s sister.
Officer Jody Thompson received a certificate of commendation Tuesday from the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations with his family by his side for going above and beyond his call of duty, CBS News reported.
“Jody’s actions as well has his families are second to none. The example of love and compassion he has shown to this young man and his sister is an example everyone should follow,” Poteau Police Chief Stephen Fruen said in a statement.
“It’s men like you that make me proud of our law enforcement brothers and sisters. You are very deserving of this commendation. I am proud to serve with you.”
Thompson’s story began in 2015 when he received a call about an incidence of child abuse. Although he was off-duty at the time, he decided to respond to the call given his background working with child abuse cases in the district attorney’s office before he joined the Poteau Police Department.
“I thought I would respond to the call with on-duty officers to see if I could give any kind of assistance,” Thompson told KFSM.
Thompson arrived to find an emaciated, badly beaten 8-year-old boy in a trash can full of cold water.
“He did not have a spot on his body that didn’t have a bruise or abrasion,” Thompson said. “It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Thompson took the victim, John, to an Oklahoma Children’s Advocacy Center so detectives could collect information on the boy, and then drove John to the hospital.
The officer stayed by John’s side while he recovered in the intensive care unit, and decided that he wanted to take care of the child.
From that moment in the intensive care unit, Thompson took steps to become a certified foster parent and took John in.
“When I’d seen him in that house shivering and his hands tied—just soaking wet and confused—I knew at that moment the only time I would be satisfied and sure that he was safe is if he was with me,” Thompson said.
Seven months later, the Thompsons got a call from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services asking if they would be interested in fostering a baby girl that John’s mother gave birth to while in jail.
The family took her in without hesitation.
“We literally picked her up in the hospital the next day when she was a day old and brought her straight home,” Thompson said.
Thompson completed the adoption process with John in August 2016 after the parents relinquished their parental rights on account of being in jail. The family also adopted the baby girl, Paizley, in February 2017 after a trial and appeal took away the biological parents’ rights to the other child.
Thompson says John, who is now ten years old, is the “toughest guy he’s ever met” and is a straight-A student who is involved in his community.
John, who stood by his father’s side as he accepted the award, says he owes a lot to his dad for taking him in.
“He was helpful to me. He’s the reason why I’m here right now,” John Thompson said.