As far back as 8-year-old Tyler Collins can remember, he has always wanted to be a police officer. So much so that his last three birthday parties have all been police-themed. This year, Tyler’s mom wanted to make his birthday celebration a little more special.
Nikki Nowlin put out a call for help on Facebook, asking if anyone knew any local police officers who might be willing to stop by Tyler’s birthday party Sunday at Wintersmith Park in Ada.
“I didn’t really expect any of them to stop by or show up,” Nowlin said. “I know they’re busy and I just thought maybe they might drive by and wave or sound their sirens.”
Nowlin’s Facebook post quickly took on a life of its own as people began commenting and sharing the post, tagging members of the law enforcement community who began coordinating with one another.
Sunday afternoon, as Tyler was having cake with his friends, a line of police vehicles began to arrive in Wintersmith Park. Officers from Ada, Allen and Stonewall crashed his party in grand fashion — Allen police officers even brought a K9 unit.
In a video posted to Nowlin’s Facebook account, Tyler can be seen staring in amazement as the officers arrived and began to approach him. An officer is heard shouting, “I hear someone is having a birthday party today!”
Tyler and his friends spent some time with the officers, climbing in and out of patrol cars, activating the lights and sirens and petting the Allen Police K9 dog. Smiles were plentiful all the way around.
“They were amazing,” Nowlin said. “Not one of them was ever annoyed or rushed, and a lot of them were off duty. They got dressed up in their uniforms and drove down there on their own time just to make a little boy happy.”
Nowlin said the relationship between police and the public they serve is often a tense one these days, and she thinks this kind of interaction is important.
“These officers didn’t have to do this,” she said. “A lot of kids these days are afraid of the police, but not mine.”
Tyler thanked the officers and promptly spent all his birthday money buying police toys.