It was a day like no other for DeShawn Woodford, a school security supervisor and UFT member, when she and her driver, Brian Caballero, a school safety agent, stopped traffic on the Major Deegan Expressway on Feb. 7 to apprehend a man in an AMBER Alert abduction of his 2-year-old daughter.
Woodford and Caballero, both assigned to the 50th Police Precinct in the Bronx, were on a school call in their patrol car and had just entered the Major Deegan in Riverdale when motorists on either side of them signaled wildly to them.
“One man was honking at us, and he lowered his window to tell me that the car in the AMBER Alert was two cars behind us,” Woodford said.
All three cars came to a halt on the busy expressway. Woodford and Caballero blocked the service road exit with their vehicle and approached the suspect’s car.
Caballero handcuffed the suspect and placed him in their vehicle until police arrived. Meanwhile, Woodford tended to the toddler strapped in a child seat in the back of the car.
“She had no shoes and socks, and her coat was on the seat next to her,” said Woodford, who quickly dressed the child. “I wrapped my scarf and coat around her, too. She was crying a little.”
The toddler, apparently unharmed, was taken by police to North Central Bronx Hospital. Woodford said it was an emotional time for her and Caballero.
“When we got home, we hugged our grandchildren,” she said.
Woodford, a school safety agent for 19 years, is in her 3rd year as a school security supervisor, a job title represented by the UFT. Caballero is a member of Teamsters Local 237.