The day began with Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning “swearing in” 15 new recruits from the Make a Wish Foundation. Each child sat attentively while carefully reciting his or her pledge to make a new friend today and have fun.
Earlier this summer, Deputy Greg Kelly approached Sheriff Dunning with an idea. Let’s partner with Make A Wish Nebraska to provide a law enforcement experience for a child with a life threatening medical condition. For one day, we could take that child’s medical condition off his/her mind. Sheriff Dunning’s response was let’s make this happen. Make a Wish Nebraska was equally as enthusiastic but they were thinking bigger. This wish would commemorate Wake a Wish Nebraska’s 2000th wish and, as it turns out, the first wish ever granted by the Make a Wish Foundation was a law enforcement wish. Instead of one child though, the foundation wanted to provide the experience to several kids. In the end, fifteen children ranging from ages five to nineteen and their families would participate in the day long event.
Over the next few months, Deputy Kelly and his planning committee reached out to the community. The response was tremendous. The group secured donations of uniforms, buses, food, and beverages from area businesses and a cash donation from FOP Lodge 2. The day of the event, nearly fifty volunteers from throughout the Department, worked to make it the best possible experience for the kids. The day began with Sheriff Tim Dunning “swearing in” 15 new recruits from the Make a Wish Foundation. Each child sat attentively while carefully reciting his or her pledge to make a new friend today and have fun.
After the swearing in ceremony, roll call was next. The kids received training in handcuffing and then their assignments for the day. Once divided into two groups, the first group boarded a bus and departed for the driving track. At the track, each child participated in a pursuit, complete with lights and sirens and conducted a felony stop. The K9 unit assisted with a vehicle search and the bad guys were arrested. The second group stayed on campus to start their day. Members of the Emergency Services Unit (ESU) outfitted the kids in SWAT gear, briefed them on the upcoming warrant arrest they planned to make and loaded the group into the ESU van. Once on scene, the team entered the building in stack formation and conducted a search. Each child had an opportunity to call out commands and ultimately make the arrest. That handcuffing training earli er at roll call would pay off as the arrestee soon discovered. The suspect was then transported to booking for photos and prints. After making their first arrest, the kids changed locations to a crime scene put together by the CSI unit. The kids looked for evidence and processed what they found. After lunch the groups switched locations and continued their training.
The smiles on their faces said it all. It was clear these kids were enjoying each new experience. One parent commented that her son was mostly non verbal. When the deputy whispered to him that the bad guy should come out with his hands up, he immediately barked out the orders. The thrilled family had captured it all on video.
The men and women of the Sheriff’s Office had just as much fun and found the experience very rewarding. Sheriff Dunning summed up the feelings of many. “Most of us have children of our own. Our hearts go out to these kids and their families as they fight everyday to overcome the challenges they face.
We feel honored to be a part of making today a day they could forget about those challenges and simply have fun.” The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office would like thank the following for their support:
FOP Lodge 2 * Alamar Uniforms * Scheels * First Student
Propper Uniforms * Krispy Kreme * Dreams by DC
Sam & Louie’s Pizza * Hy-Vee * Art F/X