A 10-year-old Newark boy who recently wanted to become a cop made his dream come true thanks to a cop who went the extra mile.
When he met Robbie Barrett over three years ago, K-9 officer in the Newark Police Department, Dan Weegar, immediately fell in love and subsequently befriended the boy, who is now fifth grader at Kelley School and has life-threatening kidney and disease Bladder disease suffers from complications. And who, Weegar learned, dreams of becoming a police officer.
Thanks to Weegar, one day came much earlier than expected.
After Christler asked Newark Police Chief David Christler if Barrett could be sworn in as a volunteer NPD officer for a day, he asked Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor’s permission. He granted it.
Before the board meeting began, Newark village judge Michael Miller, Barrett officially took the oath when his family, Weegar, Christler, seven NPD officers, three state troops from Lyon, Taylor, village trustees and other village officials, and an audience that saw the The courtroom was watching. Christopher also presented Barrett with the Do The Right Thing Award. The day before the ceremony, Barrett asked police for help after finding an elderly woman who had fallen and needed emergency assistance near the Newark Municipal Building.
After calling in for minutes of duty before his “shift” began, Barrett began shadowing Weegar and doing some of the things that a typical work day might involve. But it was only after the officer gave the boy a police department shirt his size, which he immediately put on and wore all day, that his official duties began.
Barrett checked the log of night police activity with Weegar shortly after starting the workday. He learned the digital fingerprint and how it compares with the older method that used black ink and white paper. Barrett even helped snap a picture of Christler, who had himself photographed so Barrett could learn how arrested people are processed and identified. He also toured the police department headquarters.
He then attended a brief morning session of the village court, presided over by Miller. Barrett drove all day in Weegars patrol car with Weegars canine companion Mac, a Belgian Malinois. The team visited the Wayne County Emergency Call Center and toured an unoccupied area of the Wayne County Jail.
Barrett said his favorite part of the day was attending a staged off-road traffic disruption where he asked the driver, an NPD member in civilian clothes, to show his driver’s license, registration and insurance card.
Weegar ended Barrett’s day as a cop with lunch at Pizza Hut.
Barrett’s father, Robert Barrett Sr., said his son slept with his NPD shirt on that night. While Barrett wasn’t feeling well when he woke up the next day, he was still smiling at his time as a cop.
“I think Officer Weegar did a wonderful job not only for Robbie Barrett, but also for the Newark village, our community and the Newark Police Department,” said Christler. “I think his compassion for others goes beyond the normal call for duty.”
Since meeting Barrett, Weegar has been tricking and treating him on Halloween for the past few years and joining him on fundraisers for Kidney Walk in Rochester.
Barrett, who takes numerous medications every day and has had multiple surgeries, is currently being treated at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester and is often not good enough to attend school. On these days he stays at home under the care of his mother Lisa and takes part in lessons remotely controlled by a robot called Penny.
Jeff Hamelinck, principal at Kelley School, said the school was able to deploy the robot and its companion monitor in his teacher’s Alicia Nardozzi classroom for Barrett as a result of a lease agreement with the Wayne-Finger Lakes Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
Barrett’s father, a maintenance worker, and his mother who volunteer at the Newark Food Closet are struggling to keep up with what their health insurance doesn’t cover. To help others in similar situations, the Barretts have a GoFundMe account – bit.ly/2n1UT2x – in hopes of creating a nonprofit to help other children with illnesses whose families have difficulty paying uninsured medical expenses .