"She was serving and protecting in every sense of the word."

By Meghan Overdeep
June 08, 2018
Police Officer Guards Turtle
Credit: Carolyn B. R. Hammett

Carolyn B. R. Hammett and her husband Kevin were driving near their home in Greenbelt, Maryland, earlier this week when they came across an odd sight: a solitary police officer standing in the middle of the road.

It was pouring, and although she was clearly drenched, she was smiling.

Hammett told The Dodo that she was confused at first. She thought that maybe the road was closed due to flooding. As they grew closer, however, they discovered that that was not the case.

"As we got closer, we realized that she was standing over something," Hammett recalled.

As they got nearer to the officer they could see that she was actually standing guard over a small creature: a snapping turtle that was napping (unwisely) in the middle of the road. The visibility was poor and the turtle could have easily been run over. She was saving its life.

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"I couldn't believe that she was standing there guarding that turtle in all that rain," Hammett told The Dodo. "Not many people would do that, regardless of their occupation. She was serving and protecting in every sense of the word."

The Hammetts immediately pulled over. Kevin grabbed an umbrella and rushed out to shield her from the rain. The officer, Sharnise Hawkins-Graham, informed the couple that she had alerted animal control of the turtle's plight, but they had yet to respond.

Police Officer Guards Turtle 2
Credit: Honora Hammett

Eager to help (and get Hawkins-Graham out of the rain), the Hammetts rushed home to retrieve two shovels, which they used move the turtle off the road.

"The officer thanked us and we thanked her and we all went on our way," Hammett told The Dodo. "She was smiling a big broad smile the entire time and she never seemed to care that she was drenched completely through. She was delightful, inspirational, kind, all the things that you think a police officer should be."