AZ children send words of encouragement to Lufkin Police

AZ children send words of encouragement to Lufkin Police
Source: Lufkin Police Department
Source: Lufkin Police Department
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Over the past several weeks, Lufkin Police officers have been receiving letters of encouragement from all over, including two letters from over 1,200 miles away.

Last week, the department received mail that included a package postmarked from Litchfield Park, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. The package included two hand written letters from  8-year-old Tayler and 6-year-old Caleb Benedetto.

"I want to be a police office," Tayler said. "When I grow up, I want to be something that helps people keep my country safe."

With the help of their father Leonard, the two children first started to reach for their dreams by writing law enforcement offices across their home state asking for badges and other police items that they could have as keepsakes.

"We wanted to use the badges to make a a quilt," Tayler said. "We got stuff from Australia. They sent some badges, police coins, and hats."

The two children were satisfied with the badges but then wanted to do more after police started to get attacked from people across the country.

"[I want people to know] police are good, because they do more things than just save us," Caleb said.

The pair has gained plenty of attention. Both have been able to go meet officers with several departments including Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who received national attention in the media several years back for his stance on the immigration debate. The two have also received a letter of appreciation from U.S. Senator John McCain. Tayler and Caleb were also able to visit their local police department and become officers for a brief moment.

"We got to get on the headsets and see how 911 worked," Tayler said.

The two have sent letters to departments in 41 of the 48 continental states. The way they choose who gets a letter is by random chance.

"We take this map that my dad has and close our eyes and then point," Tayler said. "My dad then looks up [on the computer] to see if there is a department there, and then we send them two cards; one from each of us."

The childrens' dad said he is excited they already have plans for when they are older and is trying to do whatever he can to help.

"I was very happy they wanted to do this and I am here to do whatever to help them complete their dreams," Leonard said. "This is all new for me when it comes to learning about police. I will do whatever I can to help out."

Officers with the Lufkin Police Department said they are encouraged whenever they get these types of letters in their mail.

"It lets us know there is more out there that supports us other than our community," Lufkin officer Devin Trotti said. "When we get stuff like that, it's not every day that we hear that we do a great job, but whenever we do hear it, it gives us a boost."

Trotti said it helps with morale and he hopes others will see what Tayler and Caleb are doing.

"We thank them for the support," Trotti said. "The downfall to that is an officer lost their life. It's nice people are stepping up to show they care. I just hope the support continues and people realize what a dangerous profession this is."

The two children said they don't plan on stopping their mission anytime soon.

You can keep track of the Tayler and Caleb project by clicking here.

Copyright 2015 KTRE. All rights reserved.