I want to tell you a story. In February of 1979, a 7-year-old named Chris Grecius, of Scottsdale, Arizona, found out he had leukemia.
It was the end of the world. No, it was worse than that. It felt like the end of a family. Chris’s mother was devastated.
In the late 1970s, there weren’t many kids coming back from the L-word. Chris was informed that he was dying. It was a living nightmare.
One fateful day, Chris casually remarked to his mother that he wished he could have grown up to become a policeman. For a parent, the news was a knife to the gut.
Chris’s wish was common knowledge, of course. Anyone who knew little Chris, knew that he liked to dress up as a cop and run around the backyard, chasing bad guys, occasionally shouting, “FREEZE!” to neighborhood dogs and various woodland creatures.
But something about this was different. Chris was making an official request.
News of Chris’s interest in the police department spread. In those days, Scottsdale was, essentially, a
big small town, so word got around pretty quickly.
When Chris was hospitalized, a family friend spoke with Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Ron Cox, and the department launched a plan to make Chris’s wish come true.
Lt. Col. Dick Schaefer of the DPS got involved. He gave Chris a campaign hat, like state troopers wear. He polished one of his old badges and pinned it to Chris’s chest. Then, he officially swore Chris in as Arizona's first and only honorary 7-year-old peace officer.
The police department didn’t stop there. Someone gave Chris a helicopter tour of Phoenix. Chris got to drive a police car. The officers let him talk on the radio.
But the icing on the proverbial cake was when the officers commissioned an official police uniform for Chris. They delivered this uniform to Chris at the hospital that spring, and they made…