(QUANTICO, Va.) — An 11-year-old cancer patient was sworn in as an honorary police officer for 53 different police departments at a ceremony held Monday at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Devarjaye “DJ” Daniel’s journey to becoming an honorary police officer started several years ago, according to his father Theodis Daniel.
Daniel told “Good Morning America” that DJ, who was diagnosed four years ago with anaplastic ependymoma, a terminal cancer of the brain and spine, set his goal after three police officers helped the Daniel family in 2017 when they were displaced by Hurricane Harvey and were temporarily living at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center.
“That first impression was everlasting to all my boys and now all of my boys have been sworn in as honorary officers … and Devarjaye is part of 743 police departments as of yesterday,” Daniel told “GMA” in a phone interview Wednesday, adding that DJ was also inspired by a newspaper article about Abigail Arias, another young cancer patient who became an honorary police officer in 2019.
Adam Colon, the chief of police for the city of Franklin, Ohio, was one of the 53 law enforcement leaders, all part of the FBI National Academy’s Session 284 participants, who honored the Texas boy on Monday.
Colon had a custom Franklin Police Division suit badge made for DJ, whom he described as “positive” and “full of energy and life” despite the boy’s terminal cancer diagnosis.
“He’s got a lot of personality and I think it just makes him happy and [he] likes to make others happy, and it’s good to see,” Colon told “GMA” of DJ’s goal to become an honorary police officer for hundreds of departments.
Lt. Josh Sanders of the Wheeling Police Department in Wheeling, West Virginia, also honored DJ on Monday. “What we like to do is help people … so if we can add some health to that young man’s life [with these swearing-in ceremonies], that’s what we wanted to do,” Sanders said.
Sanders said he was able to have dinner with DJ, DJ’s two brothers and the boys’ father, and described the 11-year-old as a “riot” who loves dad jokes.
“The kid has a great spirit. He is a motivator. He is an inspirer. He just makes me want to be a better person,” Sanders added.
In addition to being honored by U.S. police departments, the FBI Academy confirmed DJ was also named an honorary police officer with the London Metropolitan Police, his first international honor.
Daniel told “GMA” that he hopes sharing DJ’s story will inspire more kindness in the world.
“I hope this story inspires everyone in the nation, in the world, to be kind to one another,” he said.
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