TOOELE, Utah – A Utah boy will never forget his 12th birthday after receiving a special surprise from the local police force.
Dalton Poike expected to see his friends and family on his birthday, but a visit from a Tooele officer turned the party into much more than he expected.
“I just like cops,” said Dalton. “This is exciting!”
Dalton’s mom, Katee Clayville, said her son has always dreamed of being a law enforcement officer when he grows up.
She had reached out to Tooele City PD, in the hopes of having one of the boys in blue make a guest appearance at her son’s party.
“I didn’t tell him it was happening, so it was a big surprise!” Katee said.
When the officer pulled up to his party, Dalton said he didn’t know what to think.
“Once he said, ‘the birthday boy,’ I immediately knew my mom did something!” Dalton smiled.
The officer gave Dalton the royal 911 treatment.
“I think he was kind of speechless,” Tooele City Police Department Corporal, Casey Bronson, said as he described Dalton’s reaction to seeing him.
“You could just see his face light up and the stars in his eyes,” Katee said.
The officer started things off by allowing Dalton to wear his SWAT vest and helmet, showing him the different features and explaining what everything is used for.
“I think a lot of kids look up to police officers as heroes, and so when they get to put on and don the stuff of their heroes, I just think that’s what they enjoy the most about it,” Bronson said. “He wore the vest until I had to go."
Corporal Bronson then taught Dalton the ins and outs of the squad car and answered as many questions as Dalton and his friends could ask, before taking him for the ride of his life.
“He gave me a gift before I hopped in,” Dalton said, as he went on to explain the pens, rulers, stickers and frisbees the officer had given him. “We left the parking lot, he turned the lights and sirens on and then we just went for a little ride.
Once the ride was over, the officer let Dalton take over the driver’s seat so he could turn on the sirens.
“We see a lot of the bad parts of society so it’s honestly very, very refreshing when we can go and make a positive impact on a child’s life,” Bronson said.
Not only has Dalton always wanted to be an officer, but Katee said they are also new to the neighborhood, which made the surprise all-the-more special.
“It was just really awesome to see the lengths that that officer went to, to give him that special moment,” said Katee. “Knowing that we have a community that is supportive and willing to do the simple things to them, but it means the world to us -- and to him and I’m thankful for that.”
Now, Dalton said he wants to be a cop even more than he did before so he can “get bad guys off the streets,” and hopefully one day, pay it forward.
“He was way more enthusiastic about it at that age than I was!” laughed Bronson. “I can’t wait, if he wants to come here and work, I’ll see him in a few years!”
Dalton said he can’t wait until he turns 14 – that’s the age he can enter the Police Explorer Program, which teaches people ages 14-21 more about being an officer. Until then, he only has one thing he wants to say to Corporal Bronson, “Thank you so much!”