8-year-old 'officer' is ready to fight bad guys with Fort Worth police

FORT WORTH -- "Officer" Hezekiah Williams reported for duty last week with the Fort Worth Police Department.

Unlike most officers, Hezekiah, 8, brought along his mom, siblings and even his grandmother.

But like "real" officers, Hezekiah, who will be a third-grader at Key Elementary School in Arlington, got a serious demonstration of police work.

During an exercise in a training simulator, Hezekiah held a full-size flashlight for fellow officers as they swept the room looking for a "perp."

He saw demonstrations of the K-9 unit and Air One, the police helicopter, and in the middle of that, the SWAT team pulled up in an armored vehicle.

An officer in tactical gear jumped out and helped Hezekiah and his brother, Jeremiah, suit up in helmets and vests for a mock raid on a drug house.

The brothers followed SWAT officers as they pounced on a "dealer" counting money on his porch. "Officer Williams" got to "cuff" him.

All the attention reinforced Hezekiah's resolve to wear a real badge one day.

"Being a police officer is a really serious job," he said. "You don't know what's in store for you.

"I heard the night shifts are the hardest jobs ever because some of the criminals come out and do their stuff at night."

But Hezekiah believes he'll be ready for the challenge.

"I want to fly in the helicopter to do the night shift," he said. "The helicopter has a big light on it, so you can find the villains real easy."

Right now, the villain in Hezekiah's life is leukemia. His visit with police was coordinated by A Wish With Wings, which helps make dreams happen for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Police Chief Jeff Halstead and Mayor Mike Moncrief joined officers and cadets in welcoming Hezekiah, and his mother, grandmother, brother and 2-year-old sister, Sion.

Hezekiah was given a Western hat like those worn by the mounted patrol and a patrol jacket, just his size, with police patches and his name embroidered on it.

Moncrief presented him the key to the city.

Hezekiah said Halstead gave a toy car to Sion because "she gave him a big hug."

"He was cool," Hezekiah said.

The young officer accepted the attention solemnly, "with great courage and grace," said Kim Christian, the former executive director of A Wish With Wings. She retired on Wednesday.

"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."

Christian said Hezekiah and children like him are "old souls" and "wise beyond their years" because of the medical challenges they face.

Tonya Tatum, Hezekiah's mother, said he is "doing excellent," thanks to the staff at Cook Children's Medical Center and prayer.

"I look at how he is staying well, and my faith tells me God is going to keep him well," she said. "I have no doubt that someday he will be a police officer."

BILL MILLER, 817-390-7684

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