While driving to an interview, Chy-Niece Thacker got pulled over by a cop. And when Thacker reached for her ID, the officer stopped her. Instead, he told her to pop the trunk. Not fully understanding what was happening, Thacker reached for her phone and started taking photos. But all the while, the officer had no idea that he was being watched.
Far too often in recent months and years, encounters with police officers have gone viral for the wrong reasons. In some cases, members of the public have found themselves looking down the barrel of a cop’s gun. And in a few instances, in fact, the outcome has been a heartbreaking one.
For many, however, the best they can hope for when they’re pulled over by a cop is perhaps a stern talking-to or a ticket. So when Chy-Niece Thacker had an encounter with a police officer in 2017, she didn’t know what to expect. Nonetheless, she remained calm as the incident unfolded.
Thacker is from Richmond, Virginia. She studies psychology at the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, and has spent some of her life volunteering. Yes, the student has performed various voluntary roles at both the Tuckahoe Family YMCA and the Trinity Village Child Development Center.
So not only has Thacker been studying hard for five years, but she contributes selflessly to the local community. Indeed, it would appear that she is an upstanding citizen by anyone’s standards. There would be no obvious reason, then, why she would get pulled over by the cops.
However, that’s exactly what happened on the morning of September 1, 2017. Thacker was on her way to an interview when suddenly she saw a cop car in her rearview mirror. The officer at the wheel signaled to Thacker to pull over, and being a dutiful citizen, she was fully compliant.
Not knowing why she had been pulled over, though, Thacker instinctively reached for her license and registration. But as the cop came nearer, he made it clear that he didn’t want to see any documentation. In similar scenarios, it’s at this point that things have gone wrong for some citizens. But how would Thacker’s story play out?
Well, the cop then said to Thacker, “Don’t worry about pulling anything out. I just want you to know that your brake lights are out.” It was certainly a surprise to Thacker, not least because she had only recently gotten her car serviced. In fact, as part of the work carried out on Thacker’s car, the lights had only just been fixed after a previous blowout.
Indeed, Thacker explained in a Facebook post, “So I’m immediately upset, because I just got them replaced, like, last month. So I explained to him how Firestone wants to charge me $600 just to run a test on the wiring of the car.” That’s a lot of money for anyone, never mind a student and volunteer worker.
Not that the cop had any idea who Thacker was, what she was doing or where she was going, though. All he knew was the situation in front of him, which was two busted tail lights. After Thacker was done explaining her predicament, however, he shot her an odd look.
And it was then that he asked Thacker to pop the trunk. Whether she was concerned about the officer based on what gets reported on the news is unclear. But Thacker, still sitting in the vehicle at this point, did as she was asked. She didn’t want any trouble, after all.
The officer then began to check over the trunk. As Thacker told the story on Facebook, “He checked the lights in the trunk and tapped them, but they didn’t come on. So he told me to pop the hood.”
Subsequently, the cop began to rummage under the hood. Next, he walked back to the driver’s side door and asked Thacker to step out of the vehicle. And then the cop started inspecting something inside the car. It was around this point that Thacker began taking photos. What was the officer doing? What was he looking for?
The officer who had pulled Thacker over was named only as Officer Jenkins of the Henrico County Police. And it just so happened that Jenkins had a background in mechanics. So, when Thacker told him about her woes with her tail lights, he switched from officer to repairman.
Indeed, the only thing Jenkins was looking for in the trunk and under the hood was a way in which he could help. When he tapped the rear lights and they didn’t come on, his mechanic instincts told him to check the relay box under the hood. And when that didn’t work, he checked the one inside the vehicle.
With the problem seemingly fixed, then, Thacker was able to continue safely on her way to her interview. And it was all thanks to an officer who respects his role as one to protect and serve members of the community. What’s more, it’s a sentiment that was praised by Thacker’s friends in response to her Facebook post.
And it seems that Jenkins has previous good deeds to his name, too. You see, one poster on Facebook wrote, “I’ve had a run-in with Officer Jenkins as well! He did the same for me when I had a tail light out. He gives VA cops a good name.” Another added, “I’m glad you safe babygirl cause it could’ve went a different route. Good cops.”
And Thacker herself acknowledged, “He could’ve easily given me a ticket, but Officer Jenkins stepped out of officer role and into mechanic role to make sure I was straight.” In a later interview with WTVR CBS 6, in fact, she recalled Officer Jenkins having said, “I don’t want anyone slamming into the back of you.”
Thacker’s praise for Officer Jenkins’ work didn’t go unnoticed, either. Just two days later, Henrico County’s Police Department caught what the grateful young woman had said about their officer. And they soon shared their own mutual appreciation in a post on Facebook.
Yes, Henrico County Police wrote, “Thank you Chy-Niece Thacker for sharing this about one of our officers. We are so proud of our officers, especially when we see citizens share things like this. Above and beyond the call of duty, Officer Jenkins. Service to our community is what it’s all about.”