Photo goes viral after officer holds child at scene of parents’ overdose

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CBS 42) – A snapshot of a Birmingham police officer has gone viral, after she scooped up a baby at a scene where the child’s parents had overdosed.

Officer Michelle Burton said she didn’t even know the photo was being taken. She found out the next day, after her husband had posted the image on Facebook overnight. “My thing was–I just wanted to snuggle her,” Burton explained.  “I just wanted to pick her up.  I wanted to hold her.”

Birmingham Police got the 911 call when a neighbor reported that the 4 children were inside of a home at the Tom Brown Public Housing Authority, crying for help.  Police told CBS 42 that the father had died and was on sprawled out on the kitchen floor..  The mother was passed out on the couch.  She was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

Burton explained that the baby had been in a car seat for a long time, and he children had to be taken back to the precinct.  That’s where she picked the baby up and soothed her.  “I mean, we do it all the time,” she shrugged.  “I mean, my coworkers, I’ve taken pictures of them making baby bottles.”

Officer Burton’s supervisors said they are proud of what she did–but agreed with the sentiment that it’s not uncommon for officers to show compassion for the communities that they serve.  “There are a lot of unseen circumstances where we help people out,” explained Lt. David Rockett.  “We give them a ride.  An officer might buy a homeless person a meal.  It just speaks to the heart of policing and helping people.  That’s what it’s all about.”

Officers said – unfortunately, these tragic circumstances are also not uncommon in their line of work.

The original post was shared more than 1,500 times at last check.  There are now multiple versions of the story and photo on different news outlets.  “It just kind of makes you warm on the inside to know that it’s not just about giving tickets or putting people in jail,” said Burton.

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