|A Police Officer's Act of Kindness...
By: Doug Bedell
We don't know how much the New York City Police Department spends on public relations. But no amount of budgeted dollars could have brought the return that Officer Lawrence DePrimo's simple act of kindness did on a cold city street recently. The officer bought a barefoot homeless man a pair of boots and socks, and a passerby, also with a police background, snapped a picture on her cellphone...
The renown that Officer DePrimo has received for his heartfelt gesture reminds us that the best public relations is just that, relational — an action that strikes a chord of recognition and regard. It doesn't necessarily need to be planned, just done. The photo of Officer DePrimo attending to the homeless man was taken by Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Arizona whose father was a Pheonix police officer. When Jennifer's picture finally appeared on the NYPD's Facebook page, it received millions of views and 40,000 "likes" in short order. None of the sequence that brought Officer DePrimo his fame and acclaim was planned or intended, but it was all highly relational — a humane encounter preserved by a passerby.
Nobody could possibly have budgeted that moment.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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