-- A 4-year-old Washington girl’s disappointment that a police officer costume was labeled as a costume for boys has sparked a movement, with police officers around the world contacting her to say that “girl cops are awesome.”
Kinley Goertler of Camas, Washington, was shopping with her mom, Chelsy Goertler, earlier this month when she found a SWAT police uniform and picked it out as her Halloween costume.
As Goertler was purchasing the costume, Kinley noticed that it was labeled as a costume for boys on the tag and thought that meant it was not for her.
“I got it for her anyways and told her that cops could be girls, too,” Goertler told ABC News. “I could tell she was still bothered and it bothered me as a mom, so I posted about it on Facebook as just a ‘mom rant’ for our family and friends.”
Goertler’s Facebook post caught the eyes of female police officers in Portland, Oregon, who posed for a photo with a sign that read, “Kinley, girl cops are awesome!,” and shared it on Facebook.
Since then, Goertler says her police-loving daughter has heard from female police officers around the world, all with the rallying cry that “girl cops are awesome.”
“We’ve heard from or gotten patches or pictures from police officers in all 50 states and five countries too,” Goertler said. “It’s been pretty crazy, but really neat.”
Kinley has been receiving the patches and letters while wearing her SWAT costume, which was originally supposed to be put away until Halloween.
“I just ended up giving her free rein because she’s so excited, so I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it,” Goertler said. “She told me the other day that her favorite part of this has been getting the patches.”
Kinley was joined by dozens of other kids Wednesday at a “Girl Cops Are Awesome” event held by the police department in nearby Vancouver, Washington.
The Vancouver Police Department organized the event after hearing about Kinley through social media and their fellow officers.
“After hearing about Kinley’s experience, the Vancouver Police Department decided there might be other girls like Kinley who might want to meet some awesome girl cops too,” the department wrote on its website. “The Girls Cops are Awesome event is open to girls of all ages who want to meet some awesome girl cops and learn more about a career opportunities in law enforcement.”
Kinley and other attendees got to tour the precinct, meet police officers and see police cars up close.
“I think there were really two good messages,” Goertler said. “First, that girls can do anything, and she absolutely falls into that category.
“The other thing is positivity for police officers,” she said. “I don’t want Kinley to grow up thinking they’re scary. I want her to know that she can trust them.”
As for what Kinley’s future holds, right now, according to her mom, her future career as a police officer is already chosen.
“She has no doubts about it whatsoever right now,” Goertler said. “I don’t think she remembers that it [the boy label] ever bothered her at all because of all the positivity.”