MILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee Police Officer dipped into his own pocket to give a mother two new car seats for her kids.
Officer Kevin Zimmermann was on patrols Saturday when he spotted a car with the wrong registration. When he pulled the car over, he noticed there were kids inside.
"I see three kids in the backseat and two are very young," Zimmermann said. "I didn't observe any child restraints or even seat belts and I asked why the kids aren't in car seats. She said, she can't afford them at this time."
"With bills coming up and winter coming up, I have to get coats and boots and shoes for my kids," Andrella Jackson said. "So it was hard for me."
The Jackson's financial struggles were made more difficult needing a new car. She's had trouble getting it properly registered because of costs.
Zimmermann says Jackson told him she just bought the car at an auction and is struggling to afford that, in addition to having proper car seats. It was something Zimmermann couldn't bare to see.
"I'm a father myself, I have three kids," Zimmermann said. "I thought of my kids jumping around. What if a car hit them and they flew and got seriously hurt, if not killed?"
Zimmermann decided to help her out. He didn't cite her for the violation, but rather planned to go to a nearby Walmart to buy two new car seats. He got called to a different emergency but was determined to make this happen. He called the woman back and got the weights of the children so he could get the proper seating. Then, he showed up to install them.
"I got these for you and your kids so your kids can be safe and you don't have to worry about at least this part of the situation you're in," Zimmermann said. "She kept saying thank you and the kids kept saying thank you."
"Now, I'm able to finish getting coats," Jackson said. "That saved me 70 something dollars on buying coats and hats and gloves. He's awesome. I really love him. I really appreciate everything he did for me."
It's an issue MPD sees all too frequently. So far in 2019, they've given 122 total citations for kids not being properly restrained.
A majority of those, 77 to be exact, were given to parents with a child under 4 years of age.
Statistics show, car seats can play an integral role in saving a child's life. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a properly installed car seat lead to a 71 percent reduced risk for death to infants and a 45 percent reduced risk for toddlers.
"I'm a father myself. I have three kids. I thought of my kids jumping around. What if a car hit them and they flew and got seriously hurt, if not killed?" — MPD Officer Kevin Zimmermann
While the price can be too much, there are several areas in Milwaukee to help families in need. Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin and the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin work in conjunction to offer free or low cost car seats.
- COA 414-263-8392
- Greenfield Health Department 414-329-5268 or 414-329-5266
- Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin 414-607-5280 (Central Scheduling)
"We would like to applaud the generosity and caring of the Milwaukee Police Officer who recently purchased car seats for a Milwaukee mom!" Lisa Klindt Simpson, Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin Coordinator said. "There is an overwhelming need in the Metro-Milwaukee area for families and caregivers to receive low cost or free car seats. Not enough organizations provide this service. We need more organizations to step up to the plate to find funding, whether it's through their own budgets, seeking grants or donors and having trained staff to provide this service."
Children's hospital provides low cost car seats for $25 but appointments are required. They are currently booked through the end of October.