CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Zach Martin wants to be a police officer when he grows up but there has been a problem. He didn’t know where the Charleston Police Department stations were in the city.
On Tuesday, Martin, 8, not only was shown where the Roosevelt Detachment for the CPD was but got an exclusive tour of the facility that resulted in the Cross Lanes native being inducted into the “Blue Squad” as part of the eleventh “Operation Citation” by the department.
“Just to see the smile on his face when he got to go on a motorcycle and hit the sirens or go inside the Chevelle and hit the lights and see those, it’s just great,” Charleston Police Patrolman Ryan Marks said.
Martin, a student at Point Harmony Elementary School in Cross Lanes, started the day by putting on his own police uniform. After he was dressed and ready to go to work, Martin was shown around the station by Marks, Sgt. Chris Burford, Maj. Jessi Redden, and more officers.
He got to see and sit on the CPD motorcycles, the Chevelle muscle car, and talk on the radio in a police cruiser. After turning on the lights and sirens on the vehicles along with using the radios, Martin learned how to capture speeds of vehicles on the CPD’s enforcement gun.
Burford, the creator of Operation Citation in 2017, presented Martin with a certificate, gifts from CPD and an application for him to keep until he turns 18. Martin ended the day with a seat in Burford’s desk and using the handcuffs on Redden.
“As they are our future leaders, it is up to them to make our communities a clean and safe place to be,” Burford told MetroNews of the kids that participate. “The hope is that those recognized will remember how special they felt and will grow from it. They will take with them the trust in their local police, stand strong against bullying, and continue to walk the right path.”
Martin, who was a little shy for the media, admitted he had a great afternoon with the officers and his parents.
“We bring them out here and let them walk through the station and show them the cool parts of being a police officer,” Marks said. “They get to back and hopefully spread it with their friends and have them come out and do the same thing.
“That way it kind of makes them less afraid or be opened up to what the Charleston Police Department is all about.”