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POPD seeks another young ‘Chief for a Day’

The Port Orchard Police Department is seeking nominations from the community again to help it choose a child it can crown “Chief for a Day.”

The program was started several years ago by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission to celebrate the lives of children with serious illnesses who dreamed of law enforcement careers.

In 2004, POPD Officer Trey Holden joined Chief Al Townsend in giving a young Forks girl battling leukemia a special day that began with a motorcade ride from Children’s Hospital in Seattle to Burien, where she was proclaimed an honorary chief and given a uniform and badge before watching demonstrations by K-9 units, mounted patrol and S.W.A.T. teams.

This year’s event is scheduled for late August, and will include a police escort to the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Academy in Burien.

Once there, the child — wearing his or her own uniform, hat and badge — spends the day with local officers and those from across the state while watching demonstrations of police command posts, police boats, police helicopters, and mounted patrol units.

In addition, there will be demonstrations from bomb squads and canine units and other specialized units.

Two years ago, when the POPD did not get the opportunity to participate in the regional event, the department decided to host its own.

“We didn’t get one of the slots, so I asked (Chief Townsend) if we could host it ourselves,” said Officer Holden, explaining that he and the other officers who volunteered for the program were disappointed about not going, since they always looked forward to the event.

“It was really rewarding,” said Holden, adding that he and several of his fellow officers have their own children. “That day was nothing but positive for us.”

That year, the department chose a six-year-old Port Orchard boy who was suffering from a brain disease called Subacute Sclerosing Panencephilitis (SSPE).

For this year, the department is seeking nominations of a child between the ages of 3 and 12 that is suffering from a life threatening illness and would benefit from this opportunity.

To nominate someone, call 360-876-1700, or send an e-mail to police@ci.port-orchard.wa.us and provide contact information, the child’s name and address, and the reason you are nominating the child.

Nominations are requested by May 7.

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