WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It was not quite how Maddie Green envisioned her birthday, a foot race with a police officer investigating a shooting in her neighborhood.
“We got to race with the them in the street then they gave us ice cream,” said Green.
Officer Rob Thatcher was on the crime scene when he got wind Maddie was turning nine, and then, he got winded racing the neighborhood kids, barely beating them out.
“It was great to celebrate the birthday, and we turned it into a little bit of a block party, a foot race, and some cake. We had a good time,” said officer Thatcher.
Juju Green, Maddie’s dad, appreciates the gift of time his daughter and his friends received from the police.
“Not all officers are bad, but you have your ones that are bad, but you could see yesterday, there was no tension,” said Green.
“They let me pet the police dog, and I got to have some cards from the police officers, and they were so generous,” Maddie added.
It’s the kind of community these officers and this community hope to build.
“One of the little fellas came up and was like, ‘I thought you were supposed to be mean,’ and it rips your heart out,'” Thatcher said. “There are so many great officers and so many great first responders out there trying to do their job and help people the best way that we can.”
“I ain’t always got along with them,” Green added. “It is time for us to change like it time for them to change.”
Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, who posted the video, said he is encouraging his officers to be reaching out to community members even on crime scenes. He said he is proud of what his officers said.
“It has been a demoralizing year for the police department, and I know the men and women in policing are down and the best thing we can do is making sure we are connecting. It reminds us like in that video yesterday that the community does support us, and there are good relationships that we need to strengthen,” Ramsay added. “It is easy to stand on the police side of the do not cross tape and when we do that we lose a tremendous opportunity to engage with people that would never have time to chat with us.”