OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office lowered its recruitment age for a day.
On Thursday, Sheriff Tom Wheeler and Chief Deputy Wayne Hudson held an honorary ceremony to induct a 7-year-old girl into the department.
“Alaina, I am proud to make you an honorary deputy. Are you ready to take your oath?” Sheriff Wheeler asked Alaina Hawthrone, who excitedly accepted.
Chief Deputy Hudson learned of the young girl’s dream to become a law enforcement officer years ago.
“For years now, I’ve known Alaina and her family... good people. She always said she wanted to be a law enforcement officer. At first, I was like, 'Okay, kids say that.'" But she’s been consistent for a long time. So I said, 'Let’s do something to really inspire her to reach that goal one day,'” said Hudson.
Alaina’s reason to become a police officer is quite simple.
“I want to help people,” she told 3 News Now.
Alaina’s dad, James Hawthrone, said serving her community is in her blood.
“She just aspires to serve the community, which is big in our family. Our family has dedicated over a century of military service to our great nation. We also have police officers in our family. So we’re just proud that she wants to be a guardian of freedom and that she wants to serve in her community,” said Hawthrone.
He added that every time he and his family go out into the community and encounter law enforcement, Alaina is drawn to the officers.
“We even recently had the opportunity to run into Capt. Sherie Thomas with the Omaha Police Department while we were out and she was inspired to see her in her uniform. Anytime she sees another female officer or law enforcement officer, she likes to talk to them, shake their hands, and whatnot. It’s just affirming for her that she can accomplish that and we just want to nurture that,” said Hawthrone.
In order to make the celebration possible, which included a formal certificate, Alaina taking the oath, and wearing a uniform, Hudson had to get creative with finding her a uniform that fit.
He said, “We have another deputy who’s about her size so I was able to obtain the uniform, wash it a few times, try to shrink it down some, but she fits pretty well.”
Following the ceremony, Hudson gave Alaina and her family a tour of his work office — with hopes, one day, it will become her work office.
“It’s important right now because as you can see what’s going on across the nation, you have a lot of rhetoric going on about law enforcement officers and people turning away from law enforcement and that is not what I want to see in our community,” said Hudson. “Young kids should be running to us and not running from us.”
Hudson hopes for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will continue having more honorary ceremonies for youth interested in law enforcement.