APD Officer Reunites Homeless Man with His Family
May 30, 2014
Albuquerque- Today Mayor Richard J. Berry honored an APD officer who took extraordinary steps to help a homeless gentleman who was lost and desperate to find his family. Officer Jim Edison recognized a man’s plea for help and made it his personal mission to ensure the situation had a happy ending.
Officer Edison responded to a call on a Thursday afternoon in reference to a homeless man walking in and out of traffic in the area of Paseo del Norte and Barstow. Many drivers in the area saw the man, later identified as Brandon Walch, and were concerned for his safety because of the amount of traffic in the area. When Officer Edison arrived he found Brandon on the side of the road preparing to set up camp. Officer Edison quickly recognized that Brandon was ill prepared for the cold and windy weather with just a rolled up piece of cardboard on which to rest. Initially, Officer Edison offered Brandon an emergency blanket and the food and water he had on hand meant for his own lunch. Extremely distraught and emotional, Brandon started telling Officer Edison how he did not remember how he got there and that he needed help. Brandon asked Officer Edison if he would help him get back home.
Because Officer Edison was concerned for his safety and medical condition, Officer Edison offered to take Brandon to the hospital. While en route, Officer Edison called Brandon’s parents who live in Ohio, but received their voicemail. Brandon decided that he felt better after talking to Officer Edison and asked to be taken to a local homeless shelter instead of the hospital. Officer Edison once again attempted to call Brandon’s parents but when he was unable to get through, left them a voicemail telling them of their son’s location. He then dropped Brandon off at the shelter.
Three days later the Walches received the voicemails with the information about their son’s whereabouts. They were in Colorado Springs looking for Brandon as the information they had indicated it was the last place his debit card was used. They drove through the night to arrive in Albuquerque on Sunday and headed to the shelter with the hopes of seeing their son. Unfortunately, due to an issue at the shelter, the Walches were unable to see Brandon and had to return home to Ohio. Brandon left the shelter shortly thereafter and Officer Edison was advised that he was once again out on his own and his family was very concerned. He used a number of avenues including the local media to spread the word that folks should keep an eye out for Brandon.
On the following Wednesday, Officer Edison received a call from his sergeant saying Brandon had been located by Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department personnel. The next day Officer Edison arranged to have Brandon and his family reunited. After a tearful and joyful reunion, Brandon was finally able to return home to Ohio with his family.
“Brandon had been estranged from his family for 15 months until Officer Edison cared enough to intervene on his behalf,” said Mayor Berry. “He is a shining example of how the good work of our police personnel can transform a difficult situation into something incredibly positive.”