|Louisiana Police Officer Makes Mentally Disabled Teen's Dream Come True|
|Barbara Schmitt||Jan 24, 2013, 6:03 PM|
(Courtesy Angie Richard)
A Louisiana police officer has gone above and beyond the call of duty by making a mentally disabled and autistic boy's dream come true.
Blaize Richard's life dream has been to be a police officer, said his mother, Angie Richard, so for his 18 th birthday on July 28, 2012, she coordinated a visit from one of the Jennings, La., Police Department's officers, who presented Blaize with his own police uniform. Several weeks later, Blaize also was able to visit to the department.
After word of Blaize's dream spread within the department, Officer Mike Hill took the boy under his wing - visiting him often and even coming by the family home when Hill received a new squad car.
"He calls Blaize his back-up," said Richard. "He just comes and checks on him. It really makes Blaize's day. I think Mike enjoys it just as much as Blaize does."
Hill has shied away from media attention.
"He's kind of overwhelmed," said his boss, Jennings Police Chief Todd D'Albor, who spoke with pride about Hill making Blaize feel like a part of the police department.
"Police officers sometimes get a bad rap for the things that go wrong, but people don't generally see that they [police officers] do have compassionate hearts and they do care about making a difference, and Mike Hill exemplifies that."
D'Albor said Hill was one of many outstanding officers in his force.
"He's one of the highly respected officers in my department because of the things that he does, and he goes above and beyond," D'Albor said.
That commitment earned Hill an "Officer of the Year" award last year.
The attention the story has drawn to this small town that sits 40 miles west of Lafayette, La., has taken Angie Richard by surprise. It began when Richard recently uploaded photos of Blaize and Officer Hill to her Facebook wall. From that point on, the story went viral, drawing attention from all over the world, Richard said.
"Since I posted the story, it's been kind of crazy," she said. "So many good things are happening."
With the all attention Blaize is receiving, it will be hard to keep secret D'Albor's plan to commission the 18-year-old as an honorary Jennings police officer on Feb. 2.
"My police officers embrace what it's about, which is to serve the community, not just protect it," D'Albor said. "When you touch a life, that's what it's all about."
Richard is looking forward to the day.
"My little boy doesn't know they are going to do that, but ever since he was a little boy he's wanted to go to the police academy," she said. "It's going to be awesome."