In a community where residents are struggling with how much value to put on their police department, one officer is priceless for a Plain City family.
Roy Messer and his family live on South Chillicothe Street in the village. Often Messer walks his daughter, a fourth-grader at Plain City Elementary, to school. In his travels, he would often talk with Plain City Police Sgt. Dale McKee.
“My encounters with them have always been nice,” Messer said of the village police officers.
He struck up what he considered a casual friendship with McKee.
“I’ve just talked with him a couple times and got to know him a little bit in the school zone,” said McKee.
Several weeks ago, one of the Messer family vehicles stopped running.
“We were down to one car for the family,” said Messer.
The man had been asking around to see if he could diagnose the problem and more importantly determine how to fix it. After getting opinions from several people, including McKee who is a sort-of shade tree mechanic, Messer figured out the problem was a simple dead battery.
But while the problem is simple, fixing it can be difficult for a family on a limited income and just one vehicle. Several people offered ideas on fixing the vehicle, with limited resources none of them worked.
“One day, I was outside and he just came over and he had this battery and gave it to me,” said Messer. “He just showed up at my house with a battery.”
He added, “The day he brought the battery, it was like one of those especially cold days, especially, if you are trying to work on a car.”
Messer said he couldn’t believe this police officer would help him like this.
“I asked him what I owed him and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Merry Christmas,’” said Messer.
He added, “For me and the family, it meant everything.”
McKee said the family members are, “very decent people.”
“They are just down on their luck,” the officer said.
McKee said he has been part of the community for almost 18 years and coming from Dublin, he enjoys the atmosphere in Plain City.
“I have come to know a lot of people in town,” said McKee. “It is more than a job for me. A lot of people here are like family.”
He added, “We aren’t just a police department, we are here as friends and community members.”
McKee said family and community members help one another in time of need, even if they are also police.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this or one of the other officers has done something like this,” said McKee. “When people are in need, we are here to help. That’s what we are here to do. We aren’t here just to arrest people. We are here to help.”