KPD Officer helps Western student with vehicle registration and insurance costs
[Feb. 10, 2021: Braden Dunlap]
When Kokomo Police Department officer Nate Gibson saw a student speed into the school parking lot one day, he didn’t expect to go above the call of duty and give him a hand up in life.
Gibson, as he does most mornings, was monitoring the parking lot at Western High School, where is a resource officer, when he saw a car pull in too fast. Catching his attention, he went to the office to pull the student and ask him to slow down, but he was told that the student, Romey Collins, might be in need of some help.
Collins told the officer that he had been through a process of getting cash loans for insurance and registration for his vehicle. It was then when Gibson knew he had to step in.
“And so when he came in and said that he was trying to do a cash advance, and I already knew that they hit you with a 25 percent, and, you know, I’m privileged,” Gibson said. “I’m fortunate in life. And so I looked at Romey, and I said, ‘Hey can I help you out?’ Can the police help you out?’ and he said ‘Yeah.’”
Gibson and Collins then worked together to figure out his insurance and registration, which ended up coming out to $300. Gibson paid for it and then accompanied Collins to the BMV to make sure the plate registration process went smoothly.
Gibson then was able to secure reimbursement through the Kokomo Fraternal Order of Police, using leftover funds from the Cops for Kids program.
Collins, a senior at Western who works two jobs — McDonald’s during the week and FedEx on the weekends — said the act of kindness let him know that “someone cares.”
“It lets me know that I’m not alone and that no matter what I’m going through at least someone cares,” Collins said. “I have people that are helping me and will care for me. It’s a dark world, and I was feeling alone. And I have a little bit of help and a little bit of light shine on my dark tunnel. It’s a big breather, a real big breather.”
Gibson said it was important to recognize that there are students in the community who are working hard and that “we don’t really know what’s going on in their lives.”
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“Some people only see bad in this community, but I’ve been through two tornados with this community as a police officer, fires with this community. It’s just a great community to live in. We’re very fortunate with what we have here. And there’s kids out there that are struggling, and they shouldn’t be struggling because of all the resources we have in this town …
“My mom raised three boys, and my father wasn’t around. My mom worked at a daycare, so I can already tell you that she didn’t make much money. I mean, I worked since I was 15. My brothers worked since they were 15. My little brother is a sheriff’s deputy, so he’s successful. His wife’s a dentist in town. My older brothers successful … If you work hard, it pays off, and I feel like that’s going to happen with Romey. So there’s some people that stepped in my brothers and I’s life when we were younger, and that’s what I feel like happened here.”