11-Year-Old Becomes California’s Youngest SWAT Officer

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What 11 year old boy wouldn’t want to fly in on a police helicopter and take the lead with an actual S.W.A.T. team. That’s exactly what 11 year old A.J. got to do this week in what looks like an epic Nerf gun battle.

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But there’s a tragic, gut wrenching twist in this story. A.J. is losing his eyesight. The progressive condition will leave him blind in as little as six weeks.

A.J. will soon be having surgery in hopes of holding his condition back longer, but the prospects aren’t good. And his family has gone to great lengths to make what’s left of A.J.’s eyesight visually stunning.

The mission, put on by the officers from Sacramento County S.W.A.T. and Air Unit, had A.J. flying in on a helicopter, before riding to the mission site on an armored vehicle. Once there, A.J. and the team stormed several buildings, and got into a Nerf fight with some volunteer bad guys.

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After clearing the buildings, A.J. went on to rescue a special helmet, which he got to keep.

This is one of those stories that makes you proud of the police. In all of the mass media thrum, the vitriol about police abusing their power, here’s proof of what these guys are really made of.

And That’s why A.J.’s story is important. While we can all sympathize with the plight of this boy, very few of us would stop to look at the strong outpouring of support that comes from strangers. We’re all moved by moments like these, and for that we owe A.J. thanks.

The rest of the good men and women who put their lives on the line daily–the people who will come when you call, even if you aren’t going blind–the debt we owe to them is much harder to measure.