WEST MELBOURNE —
Police officers often get a bad rap. When they show up many times, it’s when bad things are happening.
But there are moments when kindness comes through in a very special way.
We want to introduce you to a cop, his police dog partner and a little girl whose life is now changed forever.
Seven-year-old Elina is a bundle of energy. She’s shy at times but opens up often.
Elina has Down syndrome and ADHD.
Back in mid-December, Elina and her mother Serena Debesa were driving when the car started having trouble.
The car broke down on this busy stretch of US 192.
“It was pouring water out of the engine block. It was done,” said Officer Sean Cronin from the West Melbourne Police Department.
Cronin, a K-9 officer, was in the area and stopped to help.
It was a chilly night and didn’t want them to walk.
“I was just thinking ‘How am I going to get to work? How am I going to survive,’” Serena said.
Overwhelmed by the circumstances, the mother began to cry, and then right after, Elina too. The girl didn’t understand what was going on.
So Officer Cronin asked a simple question.
“I asked her mom if she liked dogs, and she said yes. So I went and got my partner,” Cronin said.
His partner is 2 1/2 year old Echo, a German Shepherd.
“I let Elina pet her, and in the next minute or so my partner, who I can’t even get to roll over, is on her back all fours up, just trying to get love,” recalled Officer Cronin.
“We call her the dog whisperer because she can get huge dogs to fall at her feet,” Serena said.
Police were able to get the mother and daughter safely home.
But the 7-year-old, according to her mother, kept talking about the dog, along with how the gentle animal made a difference in her time of need.
The little girl jumped at the chance to see her new friend during a reunion Jan. 24.
It’s a sight Cronin wants people to see that police, human or dog, aren’t so bad, especially though the eyes of a child.
Officer Cronin later bought Elina some gifts for Christmas.
He will receive a commendation for his acts at an upcoming ceremony.