Devarjaye “DJ” Daniel, an 11-year-old boy from Houston with terminal brain and spinal cancer, is on a remarkable mission to become an honorary police officer in as many departments across the United States as possible.
DJ’s journey began when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer at a young age, but he defied the odds and strove to live a life filled with hope and service. His dream of becoming a police officer ultimately led him to embark on a journey to be sworn in by law enforcement agencies across the country.
Most recently, DJ’s journey took him to Minnesota, where he became an honorary police officer for five Twin Cities metro police departments, including Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka and St. Louis Park.
The swearing-in ceremony, held on August 24, brought DJ’s total to 792 police departments.
The ceremony was also attended by members of each department.
Eden Prairie Patrol Officer Alli Biermaier, who helped organize DJ’s visit to Minnesota, recalled the special moment when DJ personally greeted and thanked each officer.
“We had a gauntlet of officers coming in on the day of the swearing in,” Biermaier said. “[DJ] took the time to walk up and shake every single officer’s hands, just say ‘thank you’ or make a joke. It was incredible, I think, for everyone involved.”
During his three days in Minnesota, DJ was given tours by all five Minnesota agencies to see officers training behind the scenes.
“For [the Eden Prairie Police Department], we did our drone team, Minnetonka [Police Department] showed them some SWAT stuff and canine,” Biermaier said.
Prior to his trip to Minnesota, DJ visited Colorado in March, where he became an honorary police officer of the Aurora Police Department.
During that ceremony, DJ honored his friend Abigail Arias, another terminally ill young girl who dreamt of a career in law enforcement. Sadly, she passed away in 2019 at the age of 7, but DJ continues to honor her with a prayer at every swearing-in ceremony.
During the ceremony, Aurora Police Interim Chief Art Acevedo praised DJ’s courage and officially welcomed him as an honorary Aurora police officer.
DJ, with his infectious sense of humor, couldn’t resist asking “How do I get paid?” to which Chief Acevedo replied with a smile, promising sugar-free candy.
Throughout his journey, DJ has become an honorary member of numerous law enforcement agencies, including 100 in Houston and Montgomery County in Texas.
The Houston Independent School District (HISD) even swore him in as their honorary police chief in an effort to bring awareness to childhood cancer.
The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office also swore in DJ this year, stating: “Along with other local agencies, we were honored to assist DJ in being sworn in as an honorary peace officer representing 2,000 agencies and communities. We hope that DJ’s story continues to inspire us all to keep pushing forward and making a difference in our communities.”
As DJ continues his mission to be sworn in by more law enforcement agencies, he has received an outpouring of support and gifts, including patches and pins, from each department he joins.
His father, Theodis Daniel, a single parent of three, expressed his gratitude for the community’s support, acknowledging the motivation it gives DJ to fight harder.
“It’s only a bad situation if you allow it to be,” Daniel said.
As for Officer Biermaier, she said DJ left a powerful impact on her.
“Just keep going. You don’t know how long you have to live, so live every day like it’s your last,” Biermaier said.