Imagining a police officer on the job might conjure up images of traffic stops, interrogations or arrests. But one Farmington, Utah, officer did none of those things when he responded to a June 2018 call. And yet he still went above and beyond his usual duties in a big way.
It all started on the FrontRunner, a Utah commuter train that runs from Provo through Salt Lake City and then onto Ogden. It makes more than ten stops in total, including one in Farmington. And it was there that police officers responded to an emergency call.
While the train was in motion, a woman on board allegedly assaulted another passenger. Sergeant Christopher Pope, with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, told ABC 4 Utah, “The male happened to be blind, and said that a female had come up to him.”
Then, according to what Pope was told, “[She] said, ‘You’re not going to harm my baby,’ and pushed his head into the wall.” The man who reported the incident believed that something else was troubling the woman in question, though.
According to Good 4 Utah, he thought that his attacker might be experiencing some sort of episode with a mental illness. And when Pope arrived on the scene, he suspected the same thing. “It was pretty apparent immediately,” Pope told ABC 4 Utah.
But the alleged assault wasn’t the only issue that the officers had to deal with that day, Pope explained. The woman also had her two-month-old daughter with her, and the police sergeant said that the infant appeared to be in need of care.
Pope recalled, “I immediately noticed that the child had a full diaper, had not been changed in a while.” He added that the baby’s “clothing was dirty, and the child also had something wrapped around its neck [and] it wasn’t quite breathing appropriately at the time.”
But the Davis County sergeant wasn’t the only one who saw that the baby was in need of a diaper change. Officer Ballard, who was also on the scene and hailed from the Farmington Police Department, was concerned about the baby’s hygiene as well.
According to Pope, “Officer Ballard… came up and said, ‘Hey, her diaper is really full, she’s really going to need her diaper changed. Should we do it right here?’” And it wouldn’t take long for the Farmington police officer to answer his own question.
With that, Ballard “just grabbed a diaper and started changing her right there on the platform,” Pope recalled. The officer laid down a blanket, placed the infant on top and swapped her dirty diaper out for a fresh one.
His actions seemed to go above and beyond the call of duty, but Pope said it was just part of the job. “Honestly, it’s not as rare as you think. I have a lot of the guys that work for me that they end up buying meals for people… little items that they felt they need,” he said.
Ballard’s actions were just an example of the police officers’ can-do mentality, the sergeant added. “He’s there for whatever needs to be done. He was going to go ahead and do it, and that included changing a dirty diaper on the side of the platform,” Pope said.
Of course, there was more to the situation than just the baby’s dirty diaper. The responding officers also had to deal with the mother, who had allegedly assaulted a man on the FrontRunner. Again, they considered her situation with kindness and empathy.
The police officers found out that the baby’s mother battles with schizophrenia, so they chose not to charge her with assault and place her under arrest. Instead, they transported the woman to a hospital where she could receive treatment.
With her mother on the way to get the help she needed, the two-month-old baby was left with police officers. According to Detective Ty Berger of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, they had to bring her to the station at first.
Berger said, “The infant was brought here to this center because there was a delay with [the Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS)] coming in and taking custody of that child. So, our dispatchers [had] to tend that child for about an hour.”
Eventually, DCFS hoped to leave the baby in the care of other family members, officers said. As for the infant’s mom, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office stated in a Facebook post that “she was taken care of and the underlying health issues” were addressed, but added that it couldn’t go into further detail.
To that end, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office took time to laud the Farmington PD officer’s actions in a Facebook post. “Officer Ballard, you are an inspiration. Thanks for your kindness and compassion,” the message read.
Hundreds of people liked the Facebook post, and some even took time to express their own gratitude to the officer who helped the infant. Kathy Hagen Carter wrote, “Thank you for your compassion and humility, Officer Ballard. It’s so nice to hear about the good in our world!”
And as for the rest of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office and the Farmington PD, they’re just working to be as much like Officer Ballard as they can. All they want to do is help whenever and with whatever they can, they told ABC 4 Utah.