Connor Hjellming, a police officer in La Crosse, recently went above and beyond to serve a member of his community. The Byron grad is being recognized for what he did when responding to a call on December 6th. Officer Hjellming was called to a Walgreens that day to deal with a suspected shoplifter. Connor located the suspect and asked if she had any items insider her coat - she did and removed them for the officer. What happened next is why Connor is trending all over social media.

According to the police report, which you can read below, "While speaking with the subject, Officer Hjellming found out that she was attempting to steal a hat and gloves because it was cold and she did not have a set. Officer Hjellming explained to the subject that there are resources she can contact for assistance with clothing and that she can’t steal items. He then informed the subject that he would buy her the hat and gloves. Officer Hjellming and the subject walked to a register where he bought the items for the subject. He then walked the subject out of the store and released her.

The La Crosse Police Department said, "The total value of the hat and gloves was $9.47, however, the compassion Officer Conner Hjellming showed that day is invaluable."

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The police report was posted to the department's Facebook page and said:

"On 12/06/2020, Officer Hjellming was dispatched to 900 West Ave S (Walgreens) for a trouble with party call. He activated his BWC as he was entering the building. Officer Hjellming is seen making contact with staff at the store, who direct him to an aisle. There is no audio at this point in the video. Officer Hjellming’s audio starts as he makes contact with a subject in the aisle. Upon making contact with the subject, Officer Hjellming greeted her and asked if she had any items inside her coat. The subject denied concealing any items. Officer Hjellming questioned the subject further, at which point she then began to remove items from her coat. A store employee could also be heard speaking with the subject. Officer Hjellming verbally identified the subject and wrote down her information. He radioed the subject’s information to dispatch. Officer Hjellming obtained all the subject’s information for reporting purposes. Upon getting the subject’s information back from dispatch, Officer Hjellming assisted staff as they issued the subject a no trespass order. Staff informed Officer Hjellming that they did not want to pursue charges for the attempted theft.

While speaking with the subject, Officer Hjellming found out that she was attempting to steal a hat and gloves because it was cold and she did not have a set. Officer Hjellming explained to the subject that there are resources she can contact for assistance with clothing and that she can’t steal items. He then informed the subject that he would buy her the hat and gloves. Officer Hjellming and the subject walked to a register where he bought the items for the subject. He then walked the subject out of the store and released her.

While reviewing video of this incident, I observed that Officer Hjellming spoke calm and professionally with the store employee and the suspect. He did not get upset when the suspect lied to him initially about stealing the items and instead spoke with her calmly and respectfully to get her to admit to the attempted theft. Officer Hjellming displayed great community policing skills and compassion by using his own money to ensure that the subject would have needed cold-weather clothing items, which the subject appeared to be appreciative of."

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