Re-PuRposing kindness

      18 Comments on Re-PuRposing kindness

NYPD-BOOTSOn a chilly mid-November night, a 25-year old New York City cop named Lawrence DePrimo bought a $75 pair boots for a homeless man.  Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Arizona, snapped a photo and overheard what DePrimo, who lives on Long Island with his parents, said to the man.  Foster, a communications (PR) officer in the Pinal County sheriff’s office, told the NYPD, “The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather.  Let’s put them on and take care of you.’  The officer expected nothing in return and did not know I was watching.  I have been in law enforcement for 17 years.  I was never so impressed in my life.”

Foster posted the photo on Facebook.  It has since been shared almost a hundred thousand times and garnered more than 16,000 comments.  And the NYPD seized upon the photo, seeing it not only as a random act of kindness by one of its own, but as a tremendous public relations opportunity.  DePrimo spent this week on the talk show circuit, making several TV appearances with Foster and doing interviews with the radio and print media.  The New York Times reports the police commissioner gave DePrimo a pair of cufflinks to acknowledge his act of kindness, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted that the officer’s story is an “an important reminder to give back this holiday season.”

Those of us in the PR field understand that a picture tells a story in ways words cannot.  I blogged about this topic this summer.  We also know that the public relations value of this photo doesn’t have to end with this week’s news; it can be “re-purposed” by the NYPD and others to show the world that human beings are essentially good-hearted, and that many (most? all?) cops truly care about the people they serve.

I’m challenging my readers to suggest how this photo might be re-purposed to continue to reinforce that sentiment. Your thoughts?

18 thoughts on “Re-PuRposing kindness

  1. publicrelationspro

    These acts of kindness remind me (from what I’ve heard) about the old America, where people came together, shared more experiences. Now America has turned into a greedy fight over who can get more, not caring about how bad off people are and being only concerned with their immediate surroundings, sometimes not even that.

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  2. Kerry Kiddoo

    New York, as most cities and urban areas, has one of the highest crime rates in the United States. Images like this one, though, show the kindness of law enforcement on society and prove that these hard-shell cops genuinely care about the people they serve and are not trying to be tough all the time. What I think this photo can do is be an example not only in NYPD or around NY, but also in urban police forces around the country. WHen they go to officer training, they can be shown this photo as a reminder to maintain kindness and compassion for the people they potentially serve as apposed to always assuming the worst. I think it is easy for cops to get caught up in deviant acts because they are always around it and therefore always assume. But, I think in their teaching courses, this photo can be a reminder and a lesson that while justice and crime need to be served, compassion should not be lost because of the badge on your chest.

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  3. Lindsay S

    They should use the photo around the city every holiday season as a “warm reminder that the NYPD is here to help” or something to that effect. Very nice and spirited gesture that will definitely resurface.

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  4. Amanda Brennan

    The NYPD has always been the epitome of bad press and horrible people performing “every day jobs”. This statement “A picture is worth A thousand words” is beautifully depicted with this story. It’s sad to say that NYPD had to wait for an opportunity to make themselves look good but it was not planned. That’s the amazing part of this. Some good press is always planned, politics are planned press, appearances are planned press but this was out of the simple goodness of a mans heart. Luckily, for NYPD, it was one of their own and they were able to use it to their benefit but hopefully they can maintain their good guy image and not be in the paper next week abusing people on the streets.

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  5. brittanywalsh

    I think the NYPD did a great job taking advantage of opportunities to further their PR efforts through this photo. Officer DePrimo appeared on many TV shows to explain his act of kindness. I believe this photo can be re-purposed by offering interviews with Officer DePrimo as well as the homeless man that was helped. Also, they could sponsor an event for homeless people to go somewhere warm and have dinner where they could invite media or send photos afterward. Also, the NYPD should introduce a Facebook page where the NYPD posts officer’s “random acts of kindness” with photos and interviews (hopefully enough cops do these types of things to fill the pages). This small action heavily influenced the image of NYPD, who generally have a negative reputation so using the positivity from this photo could really be helpful.

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  6. Taylor Albright

    Wow it is so great to see and read such a story. Like everyone else has posted saying that especially after this major storm just hit us, seeing people reach out like that is great. Especially because even though police officers are out to do good things, many people think that they are bad just because of the laws that they have to enforce, and I think this shows a great deal of kindness in a person, better yea a police officer. I also agree that this would be great on a commercial PSA. The picture and then the story behind it would be a great attention grabber and show how our law enforcers are truly good people.

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  7. mshelorke

    This was an amazing story to see and read about. There are many people left homeless not only in the city, but around the world. Especially after hurricane Sandy, people were left homeless suddenly and it ties into the way others have donated their time, money and resources to help those in need. I think that the NYPD can start a program similar to Toys for Tots, where marines collect toys and donate them to children. The NYPD can collect basic clothing or essential items that we need to survive and give to those who are less fortunate.

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  8. Jenny Zheng

    I remember seeing this photo reblogged many times on tumblr and I’ve seen it on Facebook. When I think about New York City around this time of year, I think about the Salvation Army santas around the city with the donation pots and their bells. I think it would be a cool thing to see NYPD dressed up in uniform as a form of community service. This would be like NYPD re-enacting what DePrimo did for that homeless man and in a way re-purposing the photo in reality.

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  9. Kellianne

    If I were to just look at this picture, I would not know what was going on. However, when there was a story behind it I then had emotion towards the picture. This story is such a great one and I wish more people did acts of kindness just like this officer had done. This photo can be used to show how you can help the homeless in maybe a way that the police force gives back and is doing something for the good of the community. This is such an inspiring story to read!

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  10. Michelle Soslowitz

    I saw this on Facebook from News12 and it was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. This photo will definitely be around for a long time to show the random act of kindness this NYPD officer did, and to remind us the holidays are about giving and helping out others. The NYPD can use this as a way to show people that they do more than protecting and serving our city but also are here to help out those less fortunate. Pictures can tell a story and this one will be around for a while.

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  11. Rebecca

    I agree it is so nice to see a police officer doing a random act of kindness for someone who can not repay him. Good deeds count when no one is watching and the cop did not know he was being photographed. This candid photo can be re-purposed endlessly because it is such a good photo, and especially because the cop and homeless man did not know it was being taken. This photo can represent the good cops who are good people and want to help even if they get little to nothing in return, something all cops set out to do!

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  12. Lauren Someck

    This is a great moment that was captured and I think its a breath of fresh air to see a genuine act of kindness. It is also comforting to know that there are people who care to looking out for others, even if they are just strangers. When I see this picture it reminds me of an ad campaign and thats why I believe its such a powerful shot. It reminds me of one of those feel-good ads. I think this could be a great opportunity for the NYPD to brand it self and further ensure the city that they are there to help anyone in difficult circumstances. I agree with some of the students suggestions and ideas about this photo being repurposed during chaos and also the holiday seasons coming up.

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  13. Nicole Chiarella

    When I saw this picture I saw a moment of kindness. It is rough in New York right now after Hurricane Sandy left her damage. It is important that we give back especially in this time of need. It may be the holiday season but we cannot forget about what happened just a short few weeks ago. We all perceive the police in different ways but at the end of the day they are all human and have hearts. The NYPD can “re-purpose” this photo by using a PSA like Chloe mentioned or just putting it on all of their informational messages they send out to the public. The NYPC received good PR on this and it will put them in a better light because of one mans act of kindness. It is time that we all appreciate the things we have.

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  14. Chloe Lambros

    When I first saw this photo, I did not know what to think. I later then learned the story behind the photo and was shocked but simultaneously relieved to know that there are still people who do generous and selfless deeds.

    I agree “a picture tells a story in ways words cannot,” and how “the public relations value of this photo doesn’t have to end with this week’s news; it can be ”re-purposed.” A photo and story such as this can always be a great example to remind many that selfless giving never dues, especially during this time of year.

    With that said, I think this photo can be re-purposed in many ways in order to continue to reinforce that sentiment. One way could e to use the photo as a slogan or for a televised PSA to remind those about the true act of giving and that our protective forces truly care about the people they protect and serve.

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  15. Nicole Risell

    I think this photo can be re-purposed any time, especially this holiday season, to remind people how important being kind and giving back is. More specifically, the NYPD can use this photo to illustrate they not only give back by keeping citizens safe from criminals, but they also give back to people in need.

    On another note, I think the public sees the NYPD and many police forces alike as a bit intolerant of homeless people, but this photo shows that is not always the case.

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  16. Leia Schultz

    Such a moving example of human kindness and goodwill! The photograph taken of Officer DePrimo kneeling by the homeless man is a veritable PR goldmine for the NYPD, thanks for Foster; this example reminds me of what we learned in class about the value of a good picture – without Foster’s photo, this story would not have the same effect on the public. I imagine that the photograph will continue to be circulated throughout this holiday season, a perfect illustration of compassion coming from a police officer to someone much in need. The juxtaposition of the homeless and man and the uniformed young officer depicts a truly moving image of genuine good-heartedness from one person to another. This photo will serve as a reminder of universal empathy that characterizes the best of us.

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  17. Alecia Detka

    As you said, this photo can definitely be repurposed, especially because it was a moment that was never planned on. It was simply the right timing. But then again I always felt that a large part of public relations is unexpected events like this that smart pr professionals will take advantage of. Because of the media attention this has recieved the nypd could make this officer an important face for New York’s finest.

    As a side note, the holidays are definitely used to the advantage of pr professionals. There are just so many angles that can be used, and in the end there usually is a great purpose behind it all–this picture being an excellent example.

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  18. Jill Archibald

    I think that an act like the one this officer performed can be categorized with those kind acts that we have seen the NYPD perform on occasions such as 9/11. This photo and others can be repurposed during other tragic times or during other holiday seasons to show that the NYPD gives back during times when others need them most.

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