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Commendations For Trio Of Escalon Police Personnel
Escalon Police Department Field Training Officer Robert Hardgraves, left, and Reserve Officer Zachary Pelham, right, flank 61-year-old Robert White, a homeless man the officers and Police Services Manager Sara Cardoso aided recently, providing some food, clothing and personal care items. Pelham, barefoot, gave the man his shoes and socks. Photo Contributed


Acts of kindness – and going above and beyond – earned three Escalon Police Department personnel commendations from their Police Chief.

“I was informed by Sergeant (Gustavo) Flores that on September 26, at 8:15 a.m., Officer (Robert) Hardgraves came across an individual named Robert Lynn White at the corner of McHenry Avenue and Narcissus Way. He appeared in need of help, and as it turns out, Mr. White was 61 years old and homeless. Officer Hardgraves learned that he had been walking from Stockton and was on his way to Modesto,” explained Police Chief Mike Borges. “When located he was wearing shorts, two T-shirts, a coat, but no shoes. He apparently had all of his personal property stolen from him in Stockton and he had nothing left.”

Officer Hardgraves was on patrol when he made contact with the subject, said Chief Borges, and the officer’s discussion with Mr. White led to a chain reaction from fellow police department employees.

“Due to his circumstances, Mr. White had lost everything and was walking from Stockton with no shoes; Officer Hardgraves was compelled to help him. Officer Hardgraves transported him to the police department where he decided to give the man a pair of his old work boots,” Borges explained. “Now, Officer Hardgraves wears a size 14 and they turned out to be too big for him. As this was taking place, Reserve Officer Zachary Pelham and Police Services Manager Sara Cardoso were both at the office to work the Drug Drop Off event on Saturday, Sept. 26.”

Officer Hardgraves and Pelham, along with Cardoso, provided Mr. White with some of their own food and besides the shoes, Officer Hardgraves provided him some personal care items out of his locker. Noticing the shoes given by Officer Hardgraves were too big, Officer Pelham then took off the shoes and socks he was wearing and gave them to Mr. White to wear instead.

“Mr. White told staff that he has had his “run ins” with the law, but has never had an officer (referring to Hardgraves) be as kind as he was,” the chief said regarding the day’s events. “Mr. White began to cry. He was extremely happy and told the staff that this incident had changed his heart about law enforcement. After resting at the station he left walking to Modesto.”

Chief Borges said he was placing a letter of commendation in the file of each employee involved, as Hardgraves, Pelham and Cardoso all helped make a difference.

“For the kindness and unselfish behavior you displayed in your interaction with Mr. White,” the chief said, “your actions reflected positively on our organization, and on our profession; law enforcement. Further, your actions may have helped in changing the mindset of this individual towards law enforcement.

“It also again illustrated that we have some of best law enforcement personnel in the county. I am proud to have personnel of your caliber working for this agency.”