Westland officer does driver a good turn

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

When a father was pulled over by a police officer in Westland, instead of receiving a ticket, he got something else — a helping hand.

LaVonte Dell said he was driving on Warren between Middle Belt and Merriman on Monday when he was pulled over by an officer for having tinted windows on his vehicle.

The officer noticed through Dell’s partially opened window that his 3-year-old daughter Lauren wasn’t in a car seat.

“He asked, ‘Why isn’t she in a car seat?’ ” Dell said. “I told him I can’t afford it right now.”

The officer, identified by Westland police as Joshua Scaglione, took Dell’s information and returned to his patrol car. Five minutes later he asked Dell to step out of his car.

“I didn’t know what to think at the moment,” he said.

Dell said he told the officer that because of his wages being garnisheed, he couldn’t afford to buy a new car seat after his daughter outgrew her old one.

The officer asked him a couple of times if he needed a car seat. Eventually, Dell told him yes.

Scaglione asked Dell to follow him to Wal-Mart where he bought a car seat for the 3-year-old with his own money.

“I was still in shock,” Dell said.

Before parting ways at the store, Dell said the officer told him to let him know if he ever needed anything. Shortly after he took the car seat to his vehicle to install it, he looked up and Scaglione was gone.

The Westland Police Community Partnership posted an item about the incident on its Facebook page Wednesday.

“The Westland Police Department would like to express how proud we are of the officer responsible, Officer Joshua Scaglione,” the post said. “We would also like to thank the driver, LaVonte Dell, for coming forward and sharing this experience with us. In a world filled with negative stories, the fact that you shared yours has had an unbelievably positive impact on all of us.”

Wednesday evening, Dell said he had an opportunity to meet Scaglione again at the police station.

“I just thanked him over and over again,” he said. “I told him you didn’t have to do what you did.”


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