On the corner of Ramona and Garfield Street, across from the Pasadena Police Department, 4-year-old Lucas stands outside an electric gate where he can watch police officers come and go between shifts.
There’s the undercover car. The SWAT car. A car for the K9 unit and the police cars that go out for traffic and park safety.
Lucas knows them all by memory.
Wearing mirrored sunglasses and a police costume his “Nonna” gave him for his birthday, Lucas waves “hello” to all of the police officers who exit the gate.
And everyone waves right back.
He is often greeted with waves, sirens and flashing lights and plenty of big smiles as officers take delight in seeing the pint-size police officer.
Lucas and his Dad have become familiar figures at the Department – Lucas was even appointed “Junior Officer Lucas” by the Pasadena PD.
“I think it’s great that Lucas thinks a lot about ‘helping people in emergencies,” his Dad said. “The officers themselves seem to really enjoy that they have a young and consistent fan, especially during this particularly difficult time to be an officer, and for the nation.”
For Lucas, a fan of the Nickelodeon show PAW Patrol, seeing the police officers in action brings his show to life. If you ask him what his favorite part of police work is, he admits that he has a soft spot for the “sirens and lights” but “catching the bad guy” comes in at a close second.
We had a chance to hang with Lucas and his Dad and get a bit more insight on the four-year-old’s appreciation for Pasadena Police Department and all things PAW Patrol.
Tell us a bit about Lucas and how he started to get to know the Pasadena PD?
His grandmother gave him a police costume for Christmas and he wanted to wear it out around town so he could see, in three-year old-speak, “a real police.” We went out every day for five days and never saw a parked police car or some situation in which he’d be able to show off his uniform. So I brought him to Pasadena PD at a shift change to watch the patrol cars deploy so he could wave to them. This was pre-Covid and we were invited to come to roll call for the night shift. He was assigned a partner, a car, and a radio call sign and got his picture taken with the shift and he was smitten after that.
What are some of his favorite things to do when he’s not rubbing elbows with the local police?
He likes to play with his toy cars and trucks A LOT. Especially all emergency vehicles — police, fire, ambulance. And he likes trains a lot as well. He often turns his trains into police or fire trains as well. He also likes to watch any kind of construction or road work.
Who picks out his outfits? How does he decide what to wear to briefings?
He picks his outfits. And he has recently been partial to being a “swim police” where he wears his bathing suit and “reef shirt” with his police hat. I have no idea how he combined those things in his mind but I kind of let him take things where his mind takes them at this age.
Where does his interest in first responders stem from?
I think lights and sirens make a really powerful impression on kids before they realize even what they are for. And as he got older he really bonded to the idea of helping people in emergency situations.
The Pasadena PD held a birthday party for Lucas at one of the briefings? Tell us more about it!
Yes, during one of the days — post Covid — when we went so he could watch the night shift deploy and wave to them, one of the officers stopped by us and met Lucas and in that conversation asked how old he was. I said three but turning four next Wednesday or whatever the day was. The officer went back to his team who had seen Lucas waving to them on at least a half dozen occasions and the team leadership agreed that it would be fun to have Lucas come by on his birthday for another briefing. They all applauded him when he walked in. It was amazing.