Conner Hjellming: La Crosse Officer Praised for Compassion

The total value of the hat and gloves was $9.47, however the compassion Officer Conner Hjellming showed that day is invaluable.

What’s $9.47? – Compassion.

That’s how the post by the La Crosse Police Department started. It’s about Officer Conner Hjellming, and we decided to write a story on the post because it underscores the positive work many officers do every day with little public knowledge. The officer didn’t seek praise. He just quietly did a good deed, and a routine police review of body cam video revealed it.


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Here’s what happened, per La Crosse PD:

“Supervisors within the La Crosse Police Department conduct regular audits on our new officers by viewing random body camera videos of incidents and documenting their findings. This is done to ensure our officers are being courteous, professional and following protocol. During a recent audit a supervisor came across an incident that shows true compassion – a trait that cannot be taught.”

The supervisor’s unedited report best summarizes what happened:

“On 12/06/2020, Officer Hjellming was dispatched to 900 West Ave S (Walgreens) for a trouble with party call. He activated his BWC as he was entering the building. Officer Hjellming is seen making contact with staff at the store, who direct him to an aisle. There is no audio at this point in the video. Officer Hjellming’s audio starts as he makes contact with a subject in the aisle. Upon making contact with the subject, Officer Hjellming greeted her and asked if she had any items inside her coat. The subject denied concealing any items. Officer Hjellming questioned the subject further, at which point she then began to remove items from her coat. A store employee could also be heard speaking with the subject. Officer Hjellming verbally identified the subject and wrote down her information. He radioed the subject’s information to dispatch. Officer Hjellming obtained all the subject’s information for reporting purposes. Upon getting the subject’s information back from dispatch, Officer Hjellming assisted staff as they issued the subject a no trespass order. Staff informed Officer Hjellming that they did not want to pursue charges for the attempted theft.
While speaking with the subject, Officer Hjellming found out that she was attempting to steal a hat and gloves because it was cold and she did not have a set. Officer Hjellming explained to the subject that there are resources she can contact for assistance with clothing and that she can’t steal items. He then informed the subject that he would buy her the hat and gloves. Officer Conner Hjellming and the subject walked to a register where he bought the items for the subject. He then walked the subject out of the store and released her.
While reviewing video of this incident, I observed that Officer Hjellming spoke calm and professionally with the store employee and the suspect. He did not get upset when the suspect lied to him initially about stealing the items and instead spoke with her calmly and respectfully to get her to admit to the attempted theft. Officer Hjellming displayed great community policing skills and compassion by using his own money to ensure that the subject would have needed cold weather clothing items, which the subject appeared to be appreciative of.”
The total value of the hat and gloves was $9.47, however the compassion Officer Conner Hjellming showed that day is invaluable.