Officer Hezekiah Williams, 8, reports for duty

Officer Hezekiah Williams, age 8, reported for duty last week, and was lauded for his courage by fellow members of the Fort Worth Police Department.

Hezekiah may only be an Arlington grade-school student, but making him an "honorary" officer was no joke.

That's because this "rookie" cop is also a battle-hardened veteran in a personal fight with leukemia.

Police officials learned of his struggle in April during the annual fundraiser for A Wish With Wings. The Arlington-based nonprofit organization grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.

But the officials also learned of Hezekiah's ambition to be a police officer, and they wanted to work with A Wish With Wings to make that happen.

On June 11, Chief Jeff Halstead and Mayor Mike Moncrief joined scores of veteran officers and cadets in welcoming Hezekiah to the force.

"This child has really been through the wringer," said Kim Christian, executive director for A Wish With Wings. "This particular case really was an extreme act of kindness from every (unit) in the Fort Worth Police Department."

Hezekiah and his family were given a whirlwind opportunity to experience hands-on what officers do on the street.

For example, during an exercise in a training simulator at the academy, Hezekiah worked a full-size police flashlight for fellow officers as they swept the room looking for a "perp."

He also saw demonstrations of the K-9 unit and the "Air One" police helicopter, and in the midst of that, the SWAT team pulled up in a special vehicle.

An officer in tactical gear got out of the rig and helped Hezekiah and his brother, Jeremiah, suit up for a mock raid on a drug house.

The boys followed SWAT officers as they pounced on a "dealer" counting money on his porch, and Hezekiah got to "cuff" him.

In the auditorium, Hezekiah marched with cadets and stood at attention as Chief Halstead inspected the ranks.

Then, the young officer was called to the stage where Mayor Moncrief awarded him the key to the city and a special "challenge" coin -- one of many he would receive that day.

Hezekiah was also given a western hat like the ones worn by members of the mounted patrol and a patrol jacket, just his size, with police patches and his name embroidered on it.

"It was one of the most humbling experiences in my career to see such love and care being poured out on Hezekiah and his family from our department," Halstead said. "I'm very proud of our city and our employees for making dreams come true."

The young officer accepted all the attention solemnly, "with great courage and grace," Christian said.

She said the medical challenges Hezekiah and other children endure make them "wise beyond their years."

"I call them 'old souls,'" she said, and added that Hezekiah is especially stoic.

"He doesn't smile much," she said, "but an officer complimented him for that. He said, 'You'll make an excellent police officer because you can never let them know what you're thinking.'"

"Of course he smiled at that."

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