Sgt. Ariel Soltura of the Rosenberg Police Department is being hailed as something of a hero for taking time out of his patrol on Saturday afternoon to play catch with a young boy at an apartment complex.
The dash cam video of the six-year veteran of the department throwing a football with Jermaine Ford, 10, of Rosenberg has already had over 4,700 shares on Facebook, and Soltura has made the rounds on local TV for taking time out to interact with Ford.
On Monday morning, the officer said that he’s blown away by the response the video has had. By the end of the Monday, he says he will have spoken with CNN, ABC’s Diane Sawyer, and Inside Edition. The video was on Good Morning America on Monday.
He said he was just doing something normal.
“It’s just part of the policeman-in-the-community philosophy our department has. Just a minute of your time to make a big difference in someone’s life,” said Soltura.
After finishing up a routine traffic stop, Soltura noticed a lonely Ford holding a football and the officer decided to engage with the young man.
“It was just two guys throwing a ball around on a Saturday afternoon,” said the officer.
Soltura has found out through the grapevine that Ford now wants to be a cop himself, and some locals have offered the boy a spot on a youth football team. He also said he heard that an academic scholarship offer has been made to the boy, too.
Soltura is the father of a 5-year-old and hopes that if his child were like Ford that an officer would take the time to interact with him the way he did.
He’d like to meet Ford formally if he can, to at least shake his hand and meet his mother.
Rosenberg’s police department’s presence on Twitter and Facebook has made them one of the most accessible and dare say, hip, police forces in the state. They have monthly “tweetalongs” where their followers can shadow officers on patrol. It’s sometimes boring when nothing is happening, but it offers civilians a glimpse into what cops do.
“The public is thirsting to see officers in their natural element,” said Soltura. “It’s largely a selfless job.”
They’ve few if any negative responses to their social media presence, and Soltura said that he’s gotten emails from as far off as Australia and Newfoundland, with their foreign counterparts wanting to know how they can engage with citizens.
Soltura said their next goal is to reach out to the Houston Texans and J.J. Watt to see if the defensive star would like to be an honorary sergeant for a day.