Three child cancer patients visited Suffolk County Police Headquarters on Wednesday for what was supposed to be a tour.
Well, that’s at least what their families thought until the trio walked into a room at headquarters in Yaphank. The room was filled with media members.
Jesse Pallas, 11, of Miller Place, Zachary Cote, 9, of Miller Place, and Sean Hughes, 10, of Port Jefferson (along with his brother Kyle) — were all being sworn in as police officers for a day.
“We did a little bit of homework and a little bit of investigation and we discovered you boys have the qualities to make exceptional police officers,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart. “You’re honest, brave, and kind.”
As Hart spoke, all four boys’ eyes widened. They each smiling ear to ear.
The boys, who have become friends over the last year, all idolize the men and women who serve and protect.
“If you ask [Jesse] who his favorite superhero is…”Jesse’s mother, Fariba, began saying before her son shouted: “Police!”
“That is what he will tell you always,” said Fariba, smiling. “He’s been a police officer every Halloween.”
After being sworn in, the boys received ceremonial coins to represent their new positions.
“Your resiliency and bravery is just amazing to us,” Hart said to the boys. “We want to celebrate that, and celebrate you today.”
The celebration continued with the new young police officers visiting the Identification Section, Emergency Service Section and meeting K-9 police dogs. They also got to check out some patrol cars and even a police helicopter.
And they got to try on police gear.
“To see them so happy today, it brings a big smile to my face,” said Melanie, Sean and Kyle’s mother. “We didn’t know this was going to happen; this is an amazing day.”
After making their rounds at HQ, the boys were sent off with a modified “walk-off,” which is typically used by the department to honor the retirement of high-ranking members.
“It means the world,” said Glen, Zachary’s father. ” As long as Zachary could walk he has always looked up to the police department. It is a really special day, very heartwarming.”
Scroll down to see photos of the day.