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It’s the Little things that can have a Major impact – Kaiden’s story

Last month, Kaiden and his mom Nikki, stopped by the Covington Police Department in Covington Georgia, for a routine business matter.  As Kaiden and his mom were waiting to speak with the clerk, Kaiden asked his mom if he could take a picture with a police officer.  At first Nikki hesitated because she figured the officers were busy.  However, she saw something in Kaiden’s eyes and knew it was very important to him. When the clerk was available, she mentioned Kaiden’s request, and clerk said they could definitely get an officer to take a picture with Kaiden.  The clerk gave him crayons and a coloring book as they waited.  What happened next, impacted both Kaiden, his mom, and Sergeant Allen Martin.

Sergeant Allen Martin and a few officers in the building, received the call from the front desk regarding Kaiden’s request.  Sergeant Martin said that several of the officers were finishing up their paperwork, so he went up to meet Kaiden and take a picture with him.  As he walked up to the area where Kaiden and his mom were waiting, Sergeant Martin said Kaiden’s eyes lit up and he could see how excited Kaiden was.  They talked for a few minutes and Kaiden took a picture with him.  But that’s not where the story ended.

Photo Credit: Kaiden's Mom Nikki W.

Photo Credit: Kaiden’s Mom Nikki W.

Nikki and Kaiden finished up their business with the clerk and was walking back to their car.  Sergeant Martin was walking back towards his office, and then he had a thought.  As excited as Kaiden was about meeting a police officer, he bet that Kaiden would love to see the inside of a police car.  And Sergeant Martin ran outside to try to and find Kaiden and Nikki.  Some other officers assisted and he saw Nikki buckling Kaiden into his car seat.  Sergeant Martin approached the car and told Nikki his idea.  She agreed.  What happened next had an even bigger impact on Kaiden.

Sergeant Allen Martin and Nikki took Kaiden over to see one of the Covington Police Department’s (CPD) police cars.  He was allowed to sit in the driver’s seat and look around, and even cut on the lights and sirens.  Sergeant Martin showed Kaiden how everything worked, as pictured below.

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After Kaiden finished checking out the CPD’s police car, there were some other officers that wanted to meet Kaiden.  Pictured above with Kaiden, (left to right) Sergeant Brent Fuesting, Sergeant Allen Martin, Lieutenant Mike Tinsley, and Officer Travis Pierce.

Kaiden’s mom Nikki had such a positive experience with the CPD officers, that she decided to put up a Facebook post, to share with others.  Nikki said, during a time with so much negativity in the news regarding police officers, she wanted to shine a light on the positive as well.  She even put at the end of her Facebook post the hashtag, #‎IWishThisWentViral‬ because she wanted others to share what a great experience her son had with officers at the CPD.  Which, she achieved.  At the time of this article, Nikki’s post has been shared 614 times on Facebook.

All On Georgia – Newton saw Nikki’s post and contacted her and the Covington Police Department and had the opportunity to speak with Kaiden, his mom Nikki by phone, and Sergeant Martin at the CPD.

In her post, Nikki said that Kaiden told her as they left that day, “Mommy they (police) are not all the same.  I wanna be Steph Curry and then I’m going to be a police. I love police.”  She stated, to us later that she had no idea that Kaiden had any impression of police at all based upon the recent events.  She felt his statement showed, he had possibly been influenced by some of the media but wasn’t aware of that, until that moment.  She also stated, it had an even bigger impact on her when one of the officer’s wives had reached out to her and told her how much it meant to her and their daughters that are still in school.  The negative media coverage had impacted them, especially at school.

Nikki stated, “My post made those beautiful girls feel so much better at a time when they needed it the most. My heart melted. The officers that made my son’s day, not only showed my son that they all aren’t the same, they showed me that as well.

When we spoke with Kaiden, his first response was about “Officer Allen” (Sergeant Allen Martin).  Kaiden stated, that day was “good” and that he liked police officers even more since he met “Officer Allen” and the other police officers with the CPD.  Kaiden stated, that when he grows up he wants to be a police officer.  He stated, “I see the police every day.  I want to show my police car to all my friends (when he grows up)”.  He went on to say that when he becomes a police officer, he wants to take pictures with children just like “Officer Allen” did with him.  Kaiden is a very bright imaginative 3-year-old.  He stated during the interview, “I go get the bad guys, take them to jail, and then come back home.”  His mom Nikki stated, Kaiden plays and imagines that he is a police now, at times.

After speaking with Kaiden, we then spoke with Kaiden’s mom Nikki.  We asked what this experience meant to her.  Nikki stated, “That very moment, everything.”  She spoke about it being the perfect moment in time, because of everything that has been going on in our nation.  Nikki went on to say, “It was genuine.  It wasn’t a planned tour and yet they made my son feel so special.  I got emotional, it meant a lot.”  Nikki went on to say, “Kaiden sees police cars every day and says they help others.  Especially when we are in Covington, he asks, is that “Officer Allen”?”

When asked if there was a message that she wants to share with everyone.  Nikki stated, “Not all police officers are bad.”  She went on to say, “Children know a lot, and they can pick up on if people are genuine or not. This mean to so much to Kaiden.  Even the good officers, don’t all go above and beyond like they did.  This meant so much to us.”

We asked Sergeant Allen Martin how this opportunity with Kaiden, impacted him?  Sergeant Martin stated, “I loved it.  I could see his eyes light up as soon as he saw me.”  Sergeant Martin went on to say, that he enjoys all of the opportunities that he has to interact with youth in our community.  He mentioned, opportunities like school tours, reading to children, “Shop with a Cop” program, and other opportunities during calls and time in the community. At the end of this article, there are links to the decades long service, that the Covington Police Department does with the community.

Next we spoke with Sergeant Martin about Kaiden’s mom reporting that Kaiden is still speaking of police officers.  We asked what that meant to him.  He stated, “that’s the payoff, when you can reach the youth and let them know we are here to help them”.

We asked Sergeant Martin if there was a message that he would like to share with the community, especially for parents of the children in our community.  Sergeant Martin stated that he was a father, and asked parents to please consider how powerful their words are.  And the impact their words can have on their children.  That was one reason meeting Kaiden and his mom had such a strong impact on the officers.  The positive words Nikki shared with Kaiden, paid off and a made a difference in how Kaiden viewed police officers.

Sergeant Martin went on to say, “Sometimes we are in the grocery store, or other stores, and a parent may say something like, that police officer is going to lock you up if you don’t act right.”  Not that the parent is trying to give the child a negative view of law enforcement, but it can have a negative impact.  Sergeant Martin, said in those cases, he and other officers go up to the child and parent and reach out to them.  Let the children meet them, and let the parents and children get to know them, as fellow members of our community.

Next we asked Sergeant Martin about how their interaction with the community has been recently, due to all of the negative media coverage.  Sergeant Martin stated, “It’s the little things that make the most difference.” The day of our interview, he stated, “We were at QuikTrip earlier today and a couple went out of their way to wave at us.”  He went on to say, “People have been bringing by cases of water, lunch, and other things just to let us know how much they appreciate us.  That means a lot.”  Overall the community’s response has been positive.  The outreach from the community towards the police, has increased during this time.

When asked if there was another situation that Sergeant Martin would like to share, of a time that he felt he was able to impact someone else during his time as an officer.  Sergeant Martin stated, “Most shifts, or at the least weekly, officers have an impact on someone’s life.  It could be a domestic violence call and you are able to bring stability and civility to a child’s life, that they may have never experienced before.  Sometimes giving them a teddy bear that we carry in our cars, goes a long way.  It’s the little things that mean so much.”

We also spoke about the training and the impressive certification that the Covington Police Department has achieved.  We asked if that has helped with the positive view of the CPD with the community.  Sergeant Martin felt that it “absolutely, hands down” this is a factor.  The CPD officers receive training on their policies and procedures to the point it becomes second nature to them, Sergeant Martin stated.  The CPD is CALEA-accredited, State-certified, Internationally-certified (first department in Georgia to be certified), and a Webber Seavey Award Winner.  You can read more about the certifications and achievements on Chief Stacey Cotton’s page.

Sergeant Martin stated that he grew up here in Covington, and has seen Covington go through many changes.  He said it’s great to see the Square coming back to life and all of the positive business growth and revitalization here.  He went on to say what a great community we live in, and very safe as well.

The Covington Police Department has a long history of serving our community, more than their duties as police officers.  They’ve consistently gone above and beyond, with genuine community outreach.  You can see at this link: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/history-covington-police-who-care-ken-malcom, the long-standing decades long service to our community by the Covington Police Department.  Many of the programs mentioned in the link above are funded are from proceeds from the CPD Fuzz Run, through the Police Who Care Fund.  The Fuzz Run will be coming up very soon, on Saturday September 10th, 2016.  You can get details here: http://www.covingtonfuzzrun.com/

Another young member of our community, the CPD stated last year, Officer Morgan Stewardnow leads every special event that requires a Police escort in a Covington Police uniform.”  This young member of our community wanted to be a Covington police officer, and the CPD made that happen.

Photo Credit: Officer Morgan Steward's Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Officer-Morgan-Steward-557341317683491/

Photo Credit: Officer Morgan Steward’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Officer-Morgan-Steward-557341317683491/

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