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Woman's faith in law enforcement 'restored' after interaction with Colorado Springs police officer

Posted at 1:25 AM, Nov 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-03 09:15:27-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — After Veronica Montemayor found herself a victim of a crime, she said she didn't know how to move forward or if anyone could help.

"I felt like I was a fool," said the 54-year-old Colorado Springs resident.

She said her home health aid had stolen her money while out getting groceries for her back in October. Montemayor said it was hard to come to terms with what happened, knowing her trust had been broken.

"When I say we rely heavily on these people, we really do," she said. "Now, I don't know how to trust the next caregiver. You know, do I need to be watching every little move they make?"

She called the home health agency to report the crime and Colorado Springs Police followed up to investigate the report. Montemayor said she was already scared of repercussions for reporting the call and was anxious to have police in her home. She said her previous interactions with law enforcement had not been positive.

The call landed in the hands of Officer Chris Salter, who met her at her apartment to go through the next steps.

"She told me a bit about her life," said Officer Salter. "It kind of reminded me of my mom a little bit and that kind of like drew my heartstrings towards her a little bit."

Officer Salter was able to look over surveillance footage of when the crime happened but said he felt that he wasn't doing enough to help Montemayor's situation.

"Even after doing that criminal side of our police investigation, on a humanity side, I didn't feel like that call was over," he said.

Officer Salter returned to her apartment with cash from his savings to help her get through until her next government assistance check.

"What really touched me was she said she was going to be okay if she didn't buy her medications. For me, that's not good," he said.

Montemayor had also shared with him that she found out she had cancer the day the crime happened. She said, however, that her diagnosis never made her feel less strong and knew Officer Salter's gesture was not just a handout.

"It felt like a hug without a hug. You know, he made me feel like, we got this," said Montemayor. "Showing me those options of what I could do, what I did and didn't have to do, made me feel better, stronger about the situation, like I was more in control and not so much of a victim."

Officer Salter said what he did was not uncommon and that many other police officers have given money out of their pockets to help someone.

"I can guarantee that every single person on my shift has done something very similar," he said.

Montemayor said Officer Salter had been a "perfect stranger" that day and his actions had restored her faith in law enforcement and humanity, in general.

"I think if there were more Officer Salters it would be a much better place," she said.

Colorado Springs Police said the caregiver was arrested and the investigation is still awaiting court proceedings. The agency she worked for said it will make sure she does not provide caregiving services going forward.

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