It’s hard to come up with new ideas for a 6-year-old’s birthday party. But Dylan Rosen has had great interactions with Westport police officers. So on a whim, his father Frank asked the Westport Police Department if his son and friends could get a tour of the station.
The WPD said, “sure!”
But as 17 boys and their parents walked in to police headquarters, Rosen had doubts. “Who drew the short straw?” he wondered.
Officers Daniel Paz and John Margnelli did. But for them and their guests, it was anything but a chore.
“They could not have been any warmer or more genuine,” Rosen reports. “They completely overextended themselves.”
First, Paz — who served 2 deployments in Iraq — told the kids, “You can’t come in this police station without a badge.” Then he handed he one a sticker badge.
He showed the group everything from dispatch and the detective bureau to the garage with police bikes, tactical defensive gear and holding cells (the boys and girls remarked on the lack of privacy and televisions, and noted there would not be much to do in there).
Paz and Margnelli — who was a homicide detective, SWAT operator and community police officer in Florida before coming to Connecticut — ended the tour by showing a police motorcycle and car.
Away from the children though, parents saw the gear officers use in a SWAT situation, and the heavily armored vests and helmets needed to stop an AR-15 round.
What was most impressive, Rosen says, was “the kindness of our officers, and the lengths they went to to give each child (and adult) an opportunity to ask questions. They never ran out of patience.”
At the end of the tour, Paz and Margnelli learned the group was headed next to Westport Pizzeria. So they gave the youngsters an escort.
“The kids were skipping the whole way there!” Rosen says.
“It’s important that our children know these are real super-heroes,” he adds. “These are the brave people we call on every day. They leave their homes and families, to come to work and protect ours.”
Thanks, Daniel Paz and John Margnelli, for going above and beyond a few days ago for an admiring group of 6-year-olds — and for all of us, 24/7/365.