Hot Springs officer recognized for helping young girl

Local News

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — A sweet encounter between a Hot Springs police officer and a little girl is making the rounds on social media.

The officer is getting recognition for going above and beyond the call of duty to provide comfort in a traumatic situation.

Hot Springs Police Sergeant LeeAnn Zaner keeps her patrol car stocked full of things to give kids she comes across during her shift.

“We have the dark blue backpacks and the light blue ones for the girls. Most of them have some sort of blanket and a stuffed animal in them,” Sgt. Zaner said.

In her almost 16 years with the department, she’s spent seven of those working in child crimes and knows how much of an impact a simple toy or blanket can have.

“To let them know that they’re cared about,” Sgt. Zaner said.

It’s part of her job that’s often overlooked, until recently. Hot Springs police were called to a house right across from Oaklawn Baptist Church. 

“There were at least six police officers there,” Associate Pastor Cade Hill said.

As Hill looked out his window, it wasn’t the lights and sirens that caught his eye.

“She put a towel around the young lady and she walked her over to her vehicle,” Hill said.

He watched as Sgt. Zaner grabbed clothes, one of her backpacks and some snacks and gave it to a little girl caught in a tragic situation.

“She began to just hug on her, play with her and really divert her attention from all the things going on,” Hill said.

Snapping a picture, he posted the moment to his Facebook page. It racked up more than 700 shares, almost 1,000 likes and eventually got back to Sgt. Zaner.

“I was like ‘oh’ it almost made me cry but I don’t deserve the recognition,” Zaner said.

For her, it was just another day on the job.

“My officers were out there and they were doing an excellent job dealing with the other side of that situation and I just wanted to make sure the little girl was taken care of, let her know everything was going to be okay. It might not be okay right now, but it was going to be okay,” Zaner said.

For those watching as Sgt. Zaner gave love and compassion to the little girl, it was a perfect example of the good these officers do that often goes unnoticed.

“The way that she cared for that child I just couldn’t help but be reminded how thankful I am for people like her that serve our city,” Hill said.

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