Wareham Police welcome third grader on a mission to visit every department in Massachusetts
Eight-year-old Dakota Matthews loves police officers, and the men and women of the Wareham Police Department love her, too.
The Plainville third grader has made it her mission to visit every police department in Massachusetts before her 13th birthday. On Sunday, she received a tour of Wareham’s station, which marked the 56th department she’s visited since July.
“We love your mission, Dakota,” Lt. John Walcek told her during Sunday’s tour.
Dakota’s mom, Cherie Boisvert, said her daughter’s love for police started at the age of 4 after she suffered a seizure. When she woke up, she remembered being surrounded by officers checking on her. After that, Dakota would ask to get a picture with any officer she encountered.
Boisvert said she decided instead of stopping officers in their travels, it would be best to channel her daughter’s energy into a project, and the goodwill campaign was born.
In their home, a map holds different colored pins – blue, black and pink – signifying the departments she’s visited, ones that have given her a department patch and ones that have given her a pink patch, representing breast cancer awareness.
School Resource Officer Karl Baptiste led the tour, which featured a look at the department’s communications center, holding cells, briefing room, detectives quarters and evidence lockers.
Dakota arrived with two boxes of Girl Scout cookies (she’s a scout herself) and left with shirts emblazoned with department logos, an assortment of patches and other goodies.
Dakota hopes to become a police officer in the town she lives when she’s older and has a plan. First, graduate college, find work as a dispatcher, then become an officer.
Boisvert said the response from the departments her daughter has visited has been overwhelmingly positive. Others have lent support as well. On Sunday, Dakota sported a pair of sneakers with a black and white American flag complete with one blue line, representing support for police, sent to her by someone touched by her mission.
With 351 cities and towns in the state, Boisvert said her daughter has many more departments to tour, but with four years left, she’s confident it will be done.
As for her favorite visit so far, Dakota didn’t hesitate to say: “All of them.”