Deputy provides clothing for homeless in Pompano Beach

POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A bystander who saw a South Florida deputy doing a good deed was moved by his actions, and caught it all on camera.

Security guard William Simmons was walking to his shift at a shopping plaza in Pompano Beach when he saw a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who was dealing with a civilian and thought there must have been an issue. What he saw instead encouraged him to start recording the scene on his cellphone.

“I see this cop. I guess he’s helping out a homeless guy,” said Simmons. “Take a look.”

Simmons walked up to BSO Deputy M.J. Potvin and introduced himself. The officer then told Simmons that he was providing clothes for the homeless. “I’m helping out the homeless people,” the officer said in the video. “He’s a human being, too. He’s having a hard time, but they’re good people, so [I am] gonna help them out.”

“I said, ‘He’s doing something, doing something good,'” Simmons told 7News.

In the back of Potvin’s patrol car, he carries several items of clothing. “Some shorts, I need some underwear, I need some socks,” he said.

He told 7News that he’s been collecting the clothing and giving them away to the homeless for years.

The man Potvin was helping had nothing after he was robbed. “He had a shirt and big pants that he had to hold because they were so big,” Potvin said. “So I tried to hook him up with what I got. The littlest thing makes them feel good. It makes them feel like they’re cared about and they’re not forgotten.”

The homeless man found a friend and an ally in Deputy Potvin. Another homeless man, Roberto, said Potvin also lent him a helping hand. “[He gave me] pretty much everything, everything that I’m wearing,” Roberto said.

“He’s one of my best customers,” Potvin said. “And you know what? This guy here is a sweetheart. But you see him walking in the street and you say, ‘Oh gee, another one.’ But this guy, you talk to him, very intelligent, very smart, common sense and just a nice person.”

For Potvin, giving out a clean shirt or clean socks is a simple act of compassion. “At the end of the day, let’s think about this. He’s a human being. They’re people,” he said.

Simmons was able to capture Potvin’s generosity in action. “So people could see the good things that you do,” Simmons said. “They need to be seen.”

Potvin also told 7News that he keeps his own database of all the homeless people he runs into in the Pompano Beach area. He takes pictures of them and writes down any sort of information about their kin or their birthday, so in case something happens, at least he will know who to contact. In many cases, he even prints out a sort of temporary I.D. so the homeless can carry with them and have some sense of control.

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