"We don't go and tell people what we do," Fields said. "We don't look for any kind of recognition or anything like that. I can count on more than one hand how many police officers have done this."
From buying a burger for a child to helping someone change a flat tire, police officers will often go out of their way to help.
A recent day of patrolling found Willard watching a group of children on skateboards. They were having trouble landing a trick, he said.
He watched them for about 10 minutes before walking over in full uniform.
But instead of asking them to take their boards and leave, he taught them how to perform and land a kick-flip. The children were impressed.
"If I can change one person's outlook - I've done a good thing," Willard said.
K-Mart wasn't willing to drop the charges, but cut the mother a break. Instead of tallying up all of the items, which would have come to more than $100, the store did what the officers called a "blanket charge" of $50, Fields said.
The officers also notified Child Protective Services and gave the woman multiple phone numbers to places she could call or go to for help.
"We offered everything that we possibly could with the information that she wanted to provide us," Fields said. "Obviously we can't force somebody to tell us things. If they want to help themselves, they can."
Fields said he understood why she did what she did, but that didn't make it right.
It was a rewarding experience for the two. The oldest daughter told them initially she was afraid of cops. Fields said the girl witnessed her mother getting the ticket but that no officer wants to walk away leaving a child in fear of them.
After the officers took the family shopping, the girl approached the two again.
"The most rewarding part was when the little girl came up and hugged me and said 'I like cops now,'" Willard said. "That was the most rewarding part for me, just the kids."
The woman asked them what she could do to thank them, but the response was simple and good advice.
"Just try not to shoplift again," Willard said.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.