The Derry Township Police Department in Pennsylvania welcomed its youngest officer recently.
Coltin Kenning, an 8-year-old who suffers from major brain conditions and other health issues, joined the department as its first honorary member on February 28 after undergoing an emergency surgery.
Derry Township police spent the day celebrating with Coltin after his swearing-in ceremony. The ceremony represented the second of its kind for the young Minnesota native; he previously became an honorary member of the Rochester Police Department in his home state.
While visiting Hershey, Pennsylvania, Coltin had to undergo emergency surgery at Penn State Children’s Hospital. He’s been in the hospital’s care ever since.
Derry Township police thought the best way to welcome Coltin to his temporary new home was to make him an officer there, too.
“I think giving him this opportunity is something we can say ‘Hey, you are a supporter of our department and of law enforcement so we are going to do this for you and make you part of us,’” Derry Township Police Chief Garth Warner told reporters with a local ABC affiliate.
Coltin is a young patient of the Mayo Clinic and has undergone 17 brain surgeries and many other operations, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.
Coltin’s mother, Stephanie Kenning, was thankful to Derry Township police for bringing her son joy.
“If it’s this close he ever gets to becoming a police officer, it means the world to me to just see him happy,” she said. “Because I don’t ever get to see that; I get to see all the hurt and the pain and the tears and the sadness so to see him happy…”
During the ceremony, Coltin met the Derry Township K-9 and received a uniform and a handmade wooden storage box.