Schenectady officer caught playing with kids
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A Schenectady officer caught on camera playing ball with some neighborhood kids is receiving praise for his actions.
“It wasn’t something that like, oh you know, that I wanted to make national headlines,” the kids’ mother, Danielle Gross, said. “It wasn’t that at all.”
But the cell phone video she took of the officer has.
The video shows Officer Tim Rizzo playing in the front yard with Gross’ kids after he responded to an emergency call next door. Once the situation was taken care of, the officer joined in on the fun.
Gross said his actions have left a lasting impression with her children.
“My daughter’s like, ‘He’s the greatest officer ever,’” Gross explained. “They were so excited. They were talking about it all day after school. He definitely deserves to be recognized for it. I know he doesn’t want to, but he deserved it. They don’t get thanked enough for what they do.”
Officer Rizzo has been with the Schenectady Police Department for seven years. He said he had no idea Gross was recording.
Rizzo also said it wasn’t the first time he, or any officer, has stopped to interact with neighborhood kids; it was just the first time it was caught on camera.
“Yeah, it’s nice,” he said. “It’s part of our job is community interaction. We do it when we have a chance. It’s something that I do fairly regularly. We all do it at the police department. They just happened to catch it on video this time.”
The video has hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook, which surprised both Officer Rizzo and Gross.
“I didn’t think it would get as big as it did,” Gross said. “It was more for, like, my family and friends to see. Like, ‘Hey you guys. Look what happened with my kids.’ I want to brag about my kids.”
“But you’re not the only one that does it,” Rizzo said. “It’s not uncommon. We’re surprised that it’s this big of a deal to be honest.”
The police department has invited Gross and the kids back to the station for a tour, so they can see patrol cars and interact with more officers.
Gross said the kids are really looking forward to that, and they plan on making a visit there very soon.