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December 07, 2007

Compassion On Skid Row

COMPASSION ON SKID ROW

Deon Joseph never wanted to be a cop, but when things weren't working out at the family business, he had to look for a new job - and the first returned call he got was from the L.A.P.D. He figured he'd work in an easy part of the city, but he ended up in one of the most famously bad neighborhoods in the country: Skid Row. 

After one of the first calls Deon took - to help a woman with a domestic violence complaint - he realized that what he'd learned at Police Academy was helpful. But even more useful were the lessons he'd learned from his family about kindness and compassion. 

Deon's mother, Margie, raised 41 foster children, and his father, Milton, regularly employed ex-cons in his businesses. When Deon looked at Skid Row's drug-addicted and homeless residents, he says their faces looked familiar. He began to police in an unusual way - with an open heart. He says there's no contradiction between that and the tough side of being a law enforcement officer. Ten years after Deon started working in Skid Row, he says he's seeing crime go down.

LISTENER FOLLOW-UP - THE GIFT AND THE GIVER

Mark Peysakhovich moved to tears while listening to Dick's conversation with Chrys Browne, about a time when a gift from her parents embarrassed her.

Mark immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1980 at the age of 10. Soon after his family's arrival in the States, he and his father began taking English classes together. He remembers laughing at his father mispronunciation of English words. Mark joins Dick to tell him how Chrys Browne's story inspired him to call his father all these years later, and apologize.

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