7-year-old honorary Gloucester police officer has busy first week on the job
In case anyone is wondering, Officer Liam's bedtime is around 8 p.m., which makes perfect sense; ever since the 7-year-old was sworn in as an honorary member of the Gloucester Township Police Department, his days have been very busy.
"It's been pretty exciting. He's been practicing his police moves all week," Liam's mom, Lauren Lindsey, told NJ 101.5.
The Gloucester Township student, who has been battling Leukemia for the past three years, became the youngest member of the police force during a special ceremony Monday. On Friday, he will also become NJ 101.5 host Bill Spadea's youngest #BlueFriday honoree - part of an ongoing effort to recognize police who go above and beyond every Friday in 2016.
Liam's mom said the past few days have been very special for her son, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2013. He takes chemotherapy drugs every day and has to undergo regular treatments such as chemo medications being injected into his spine. Liam is a tough kid though, his mom told NJ 101.5. As unpleasant as the treatments can be and as sick as he sometimes feels, she said when it's over, he just goes back to being a normal, smiling student.
"Needles are scary, but he’s very brave. You would never know he’s a sick child. He just plays like a normal kid and just goes back to life right after treatment," said Lauren, who also suffered a brain tumor after Liam was diagnosed, and has had two major surgeries.
Lauren said it's always been her son's dream to be a police officer or a firefighter.
"He’s such a sweet boy, and he’s got a heart of gold. He just wants to help people. He really looks up to police officers," Lauren said.
According to GTPD Lt. Brendan Barton, Liam was discovered by one of the department’s School Resource Officers.
“We have a great partnership with our schools. We have three elementary and middle school SROs who visit the schools daily,” Barton told NJ 101.5 earlier this week. “One of our SROs heard about a kindergarten student who loves law enforcement."
That's when the police department made the decision to give young Liam a uniform and swear him in as an honorary officer. The department didn't hold back on the pomp and circumstance either. Lauren said on Monday, the day he officially "joined" the ranks of Gloucester's Finest, she and Liam were picked up in a patrol car. From there, a motorcade of emergency vehicles accompanied them to headquarters.
"They even had every intersection blocked off between (the police department) and our house," she said.
When they arrived, Lauren said, every single available patrol car and police vehicle was waiting for them, lights flashing, officers ready to welcome their newest "brother." They were even joined by the Gloucester Township Fire Department, which had trucks positioned outside as well.
"It was just amazing," Lauren said of the experience. "They made it such a special day."
After being sworn in, Liam toured the police department, learned how to make traffic stops and even had a chance to work with the department's K-9 unit. They even had him radio dispatchers as he was arriving at headquarters.
Since Monday, Liam has taken his job very seriously, his mom said. He's been wearing his official police shirt and hat, and has been recognized by community members while out in public. He's eager to answer questions about his experience, Lauren said. His "authority" has even been recognized in school, where his first official act of keeping order involved putting his class in "time out."
"He's been taking it all in stride and I'm really proud of him," Lauren said.
Speaking on the Bill Spadea show, Lauren noted that Liam even wants to enact his own law now that he is an honorary officer. "No Homework," Liam shouted in the background.
Watch the entire call with Bill and Liam's mom Lauren in the clip below.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.
To nominate another deserving officer, fill out the form below or tweet @BillSpadea and @NJ1015 using the hashtag #BlueFriday.