SOMERVILLE — Chief David Fallon reports that a Somerville Police Officer was so moved by her experience with a woman she had originally pulled over for speeding that the officer sent the woman flowers afterward.
On Wednesday morning, Officer Ashley Catatao, a five-year veteran of the Somerville Police Department, was conducting traffic enforcement on Alewife Brook Parkway (Rt. 16) when she noticed a vehicle driving 40 mph in the 30 mph zone, and subsequently pulled the driver over to issue a violation for speeding. Because the driver had a clean driving record, Officer Catatao only issued a written warning, which she indicated to the driver. When she returned to the driver’s vehicle with the citation, the woman was crying and very visibly upset. Officer Catatao engaged her in conversation and learned that the driver was on her way to see her mother, and that the family just got news that she was going to be coming home on hospice end of life care. Officer Catatao offered the driver some words of comfort and made sure she was OK before she went on her way.
Later, the officer learned that the driver was from Winchester, and she called a local florist to have a bouquet of flowers and a kind note delivered to the driver and her family. “As a police officer, even when I am pulling a motorist over for speeding or another infraction, I try not to lose track of the fact that I serve this community and that people driving in Somerville are real people with real things happening in their lives,” Officer Catatao said. “I think it’s very important that police officers and the members of the communities we serve keep that fact in mind as we go about our days. I still have my mother, and I am a mother, and my heart goes out to that family for what they are going through.”
Chief Fallon praised Officer Catatao’s empathy and professionalism. “We can never, as law enforcement officers, forget about the people we serve, even when they are technically breaking the law,” Chief Fallon said. “Officer Catatao’s compassion should serve as a model for others that even in the simplest-seeming situations, police are often encountering people during their most vulnerable and critical times, and any comfort we can offer them in addition to our normal duties is a bonus”.