This post is part of our ongoing, #WhyIWearTheBadge Wednesday blog series.
I pinned on a very special badge recently. I pinned it on a uniform that was specially made, worn over a pair of boots that were special ordered, during a ceremony changed at the last minute to accommodate a very urgent timeline.
I pinned this badge as our police department welcomed eight – make that nine – bright, young, eager new officers. They had completed a rigorous interview process, were successful during an intense training course, and during this academy graduation stood proudly together knowing they were about to achieve their dream – becoming a police officer.
But one of these recruits was different. He was much smaller and appeared thin, even frail. Although his uniform was custom made, his pants were baggy and his shirt too broad for his small frame. Still, the fire in this young recruit’s eyes, his commitment to service and his pride in standing in an auditorium full of officers and their families was most evident.
This recruit has forever touched my heart and the hearts of all in our department and our city. I will never have the honor of pinning a badge on anyone quite like him.
His name is Rashid. He is eight years old. His family was working hard to build a new life after coming to Idaho as refugees from Iraq when Rashid was diagnosed with cancer. As other families planned lunch to celebrate graduation from the Boise Police Advanced Academy, this young man had just come from the hospital.
Rashid is battling Rhabdomyosarcoma, a disease in which cancer cells form in muscle tissue. Rashid told his counselor at a summer camp for young cancer patients that his dream is to be a police officer. The sad fact is, we don’t know what the future holds for this young man. So when my officers heard about Rashid’s dream, they knew they didn’t have much time to make it happen.
Why do I wear the badge? The video attached to this blog tells that story better than any words. What I can say is I am one very proud police chief. Those who wear the badge see a child in need and do all in their power to make a difference. Those who wear the badge see a challenge and create an opportunity to serve. Those who wear the badge wear it over their heart, but that can’t hide the courage and the hope they show and share with others. I am inspired every day by the women and men I am privileged to lead who see despair and search for ways to help, even when there is no thank you, no cheers from the stands, no shy smile from a brave child.
We say Rashid gave us our best day. As you watch this video, he’ll make your day as well. Children in every community have dreams. Those who wear the badge take on the task of providing the safety communities need for children to grow up nurtured and confident, secure and eager. We wear the badge to build a safe and brighter tomorrow. Those daily efforts will never be made into an amazing video. But when they help create a community where children can grow to live their dreams, then our best days, and we hope Rashid’s, are yet to come.