CMPD officer used 'laughter' to defuse situation with teen with autism


Tuesday morning, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Tim Purdy was adamant about reminding people the viral photo he posted Friday was evidence of a situation that’s not uncommon for police officers.

“I don’t think anything I did was out of the ordinary. It just happened it got caught on camera and went to Facebook,” Purdy said. 

"There’s more to policing than making arrests and enforcing the law. Sometimes taking those extra little steps makes the biggest difference in someone’s life," the post read. 

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer has gone viral after he reportedly helped a high school student who has autism.

Tuesday morning, Purdy met with reporters to talk about the incident and how it’s made him somewhat famous on the internet.

Purdy was dispatched to a situation involving the young man who left his school's campus and may have been suicidal. Officers say the teen had a history of displaying violent behavior due to his neuro-developmental disorder.

“As I was approaching him, he sat down on the curb. I took that opportunity to get down on his level,” Purdy said. 

While other officers and the teen’s mother watched, Purdy spent about 20 minutes talking with the teen, even laughing at times. “We ended up talking about school, we talked football, and we talked about his family. We just got to talking about things and got to laughing. It just helped bring him down,” Purdy said.

Initially, officers arriving at the scene were prepared to take the teen into custody using force because of his threat of physical harm to himself. Purdy was able to defuse the situation and the teen was taken home without incident.

Purdy told reporters the story isn’t about him. 

“Am I proud to be a law enforcement officer? Yes I am. But I think it’s more important to understand that this is something my brothers and sisters do every day out here. This is something I hope everybody takes away from that,” Purdy said, “Not a story about what Tim Purdy did, it’s a story about what law enforcement does out there every day.”

By Kristen Hampton

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