Chubbuck Police Department swears in 8-year-old cancer patient as cop for a day
Brooke Koehler has always wanted to be a police officer.
The 8-year-old from Farmington, Utah, frequently wears dangly handcuff earrings and once dressed up as an officer for Halloween.
But on Wednesday morning, the dress-up became real when she was sworn in by Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England as an officer of the Chubbuck Police Department — at least for the day.
Brooke’s mom, Jenessa Koehler, has a cousin who is the wife of Chubbuck police Sgt. Scott Conlin.
Conlin has helped foster Brooke’s career goal for years. So when, in September 2017, Brooke was diagnosed with leukemia, he wanted to do something special for her.
Conlin convinced the Chubbuck Police Department to allow Brooke to be sworn in as an officer for one day. Brooke even got an official police uniform donated by Old Town Embroidery and handcuffs engraved with her name.
Wednesday morning, Brooke was sworn in at the Chubbuck City Council chambers, just as real officers are. After, she had the opportunity to tour the police department and have her fingerprints taken.
She then completed a crime scene investigation, where she was presented with a crime and evidence and had to solve the case. Brooke finished the day by accompanying Conlin on patrol before stopping for lunch at McDonald’s, one of her favorite restaurants.
“We’ve gotten so much love and support from the police community, just from them hearing about Brooke and her diagnosis,” Jenessa said. “Cops get a lot of bad attention, and I think it’s been so awesome to see all of the good that they’ve done for her.”
Law enforcement officers from all over have come together to support Brooke, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy and will until November 2019.
Jenessa said a husband and wife in Utah who are both police officers have gathered police patches from all over the world for Brooke, including some from as far away as Australia. Jenessa said she is putting them together in a quilt to give to her daughter.
Additionally, Jenessa’s old D.A.R.E. officer, who is now a sheriff in Montana, gave his own old sheriff’s badge to Brooke, as Montana has a law against giving out police patches.
“These are complete strangers that just love her,” Jenessa said. “They’ve never met our family, and they’re just so sweet to her.”
There was one person who wasn’t entirely sold on Brooke becoming a temporary police officer — her older sister, Shandi.
“I’m so glad it’s only for the day,” Shandi said after Brooke expressed her disappointment at being told she couldn’t handcuff her sister.
But despite that, Brooke said she was excited to become a police officer so she could save and protect people.
“I wanted to be a police officer because they help people,” Brooke said. “And I like riding in the cars.”