DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas police officers swarmed an apartment complex on the city’s Northwest side Friday morning. There was no crime — just a villain and sadly, a victim.
If only police could put handcuffs on cancer.
“As long as he is happy, I’m happy,” said Gloria Adekilekun, “But, I never knew the crisis was coming so fast.”
Just months ago, her 14-year-old son, Ayodeji, was playing football. He is now on in-home hospice care and unable to speak. Doctors have warned that the battle with brain cancer is almost over.
“We’ve been communicating through blinks,” said Dallas Police Officer Raashid Brown. He became aware of the family’s situation during community policing efforts. “For chief to come, and for him to try to speak back to her. It was very difficult for us to sit through that.”
Officer Brown, Officer Lamar Glass and others have rallied to help the family and fill the teen’s remaining day with joy. When the officers learned that Ayodeji had dreamed of one day being a junior police officer, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall showed up to make him police chief for the day.
“So, I’m going to go home and rest!” quipped Chief Hall. Her lighthearted comment managed to make the crowd laugh; but, she did so only after she took a moment to wipe away tears.
“I’m not ashamed because this is the reason we became police officers… the reason we do what we do. 98 percent of the time, this is who we are. We make mistakes, as people, as law enforcement. But, the narrative should be this every day: we set out each day to do the right thing and go above and beyond just what we are called to do,” said Chief Hall.
Chief Hall couldn’t say enough about her officers who came to the family’s aid over the holidays and are continuing to support them now.
“They go outside of the box of law enforcement, and they touch the human side. This is the community engagement that we only dream about. Because we know that it’s these kinds of things that build a stronger community and help us with our plight on crime and other quality of life issues,” said Chief Hall.
First Stripe, an organization that helps first responders engage in their communities, has also been helping officers navigate the maze of needs and offers to help.
“Police officers have emotions, they’re people, ” said Jessica Lynn with First Stripe. “They have to put on a mask when they’re working and this is one way we can humanize the badge and get the message that they are a part of our community. It’s not them versus us, they’re a part of us.”
Meanwhile, the teen’s family remains rooted in faith — saying they will accept God’s will in whatever way their prayers are answered.
“Whatever the answer, I trust in God,” said Gloria at the apartment she shares with her two younger children and her sister. “Before I was scared. But, now, I’m not scared. I’m not scared.” But, she continues to insist that she is very, very grateful.