First-Grade Student Sworn in as Officer for the Day by HPD Chief

Cypress, TX (March 1, 2016) Just like the Marvel superheroes he adores, first-grade Bang Elementary student Jaydan Wells experienced a dream come true by becoming a superhero himself—he was sworn in as an honorary police officer by Houston Police Department Chief of Police Charles A. McClleland Jr. on Feb. 26, the Chief’s last day before retirement.

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“One of my favorite things about my job was being able to speak to children and touch their lives in some way,” said Chief McClelland. “It was my honor and pleasure to be able to pin Officer Jaydan with his badge today and make him an honorary Houston Police Officer.”

According to Jaydan’s mom, Divie, her son’s life was tremendously touched by the opportunity he was provided to become an Officer for the Day, especially since Jaydan suffers from adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD)—a genetic terminal illness that causes damage to his central nervous system.

The day began as officers waited in front of the HPD building in downtown Houston for Jaydan and his classmates to arrive in the CFISD school bus. As soon as the bus parked, seven-year-old Jaydan, dressed in a tailor-made police uniform, got off the bus and immediately shook hands with Houston Police Officers’ Union (HPOU) / Senior Police Officer Doug Griffith and Training Sgt. Lee Lawrence Jr.

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“My heart was elated—to see the officers waiting for our children to arrive and the way they treated Jaydan and the rest of our children like royalty,” said Bang Elementary School principal Erwann Wilson.

The first order of business for Officer Jaydan and his classmates was a visit with Mounted Patrol Officers Armand Schattle and Rebecca Dallas. Officer Jaydan mounted the horse with Officer Dallas for a brief ride and his classmates had the opportunity to pet the other police horse.

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After the visit with the mounted patrol, Officer Griffith guided the students inside the HPD Museum that featured unique displays of artifacts including helicopters, SWAT cars and motorcycles, badges, uniforms and other equipment utilized over the years by police officers.

“All of the children were so well-behaved [as they walked through the museum] and it was evident that Jaydan’s teachers [Heather Galneau and Julie Gassoa] truly have a passion for what they do,” Officer Griffith said.  “It definitely showed as they were working with Jaydan and the rest of the children during their visit.”

Once Officer Jaydan and his classmates finished viewing all the police artifacts, Chief McClellan and Assistant Chief Troy Finner joined the group for the official swearing in and badge presentation. Officer Jaydan also received a blue drawstring backpack filled with HPD memorabilia.

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“Quite a bit of effort went into making this whole event happen; and a lot of people were involved—our Chief, Assistant Chief and the HPOU,” said Sgt. Lawrence, who was originally connected with Jaydan and his family through his daughter, a paraeducator at Bang ES. “So much had to happen in order for this event to be a success—from getting Jaydan’s uniform made to getting the whole event scheduled. I am just very, very grateful that we finally brought it to fruition. This is a very emotional time for me. Getting to know Jayden and his family through his teachers and seeing the smiles on his face and all the other kids here today has been a very rewarding experience. This is definitely something I will never forget.”

According to assistant principal Tracy Barstow, the collaborative effort between HPD and HPOU as well as the staff and students of Bang ES, demonstrated a deep sense of kindness and compassion toward Jaydan.

“The number of people that came together and rallied for this young man in order to create a positive experience was truly the spirit of our campus, the spirit of CFISD, the spirit of Every Student, Every Day,” Barstow said.  “This is what we do … our district wraps its arms around every student.”

Principal Wilson said that everyone on campus, along with members of the HPD, were genuinely happy for Jayden, who is described by those who know him as a kind, gentle, fun and loving young man.

“When we returned to campus, everyone wanted to know how everything turned out. It was a joyful time for everyone,” she said. “This wonderful opportunity happened because of our dedicated officers giving back to the community—in this case, our school. They provided an amazing opportunity for our Jaydan to fulfill his dream of one day becoming a police officer.”

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According to Jaydan’s mom, she is so thankful to the staff at Bang Elementary and members of the police department for their generosity. She said February 26th will be a day that Jaydan and her family will never forget.

“The look on Jaydan’s face was priceless, and he was just beaming with so much joy. This, by far, will be one of our best memories. My Jaydan was a superhero for the day.”

Courtesy of the District