The sweet way this rookie Maryland police officer comforted a lost woman with dementia is melting hearts everywhere.
Officer Brandon Morrison of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office took 80-year-old Roberta Crowley’s hand after she got lost in the woods during her afternoon stroll on March 18.
I wanted to make her feel comfortable,” Officer Morrison, 21, tells PEOPLE. “She was disoriented and I wanted to help her stabilize. It’s what any cop would have done.”
Charles County Sgt. Clarence Black took the photo, which has been shared over 51,000 times on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
“I saw our officer, the youngest on the team, helping this 80-year-old woman and it was very heartwarming,” Sgt. Black tells PEOPLE. “The way they were talking it bridged that gap. He represents what police stands for. We are here to help serve the public. He was doing his duty to help her.”
Crowley, who suffers from dementia, walks with her dog three times a day to stay in shape – but last week the great-grandmother accidentally strayed from her normal route in Brandywine, Maryland, and into a nearby forest.
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When her pet returned home without her, whimpering, Crowley’s family knew something was wrong.
“Her granddaughter called for a critical missing elderly person,” says Sgt. Black. “She sounded really worried.”
After 40 minutes of searching, Charles County police officers tracked her down with the help of a 6-year-old K9 officer named Eno.
“At first she seemed confused at the sudden appearance of police officers on the tree-lined trail, and she asked if the officers were out taking a walk too. They quietly replied, ‘Yes,’ after all, it was a beautiful day. And then she seemed relieved and told them she had lost her way. ‘No problem,’ said Officer Morrison who then gently took her hand and, along with the other officers walked her back to her house,” reads the social media post.
The officers then made small talk with Crowley, comforting her in her state of confusion.
“With the shadow cast over law enforcement lately and all the negative stuff going on, it’s important to remember we are people too,” says officer Morrison. “We truly do want to protect and serve our communities as best we can.”