GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Adorable pictures have made the rounds on social media showing a Grand Rapids Police Officer interacting with some kids in the neighborhood. But who is the man behind the uniform taking time out of his work day to put smiles on these kids' faces?
16 years as a police officer, Adam Ickes has seen the worst of the worst. Letting a five-year old take over his cop car and having lightsaber battles are just some of the things that make his job a little easier.
It's only a picture, but it's one that means so much more to the people in it. A Grand Rapids Police Officer stopped to meet five-year old Travis Versluis while out on a call.
"My partner and I were on a call around the corner," said Officer Adam Ickes. "Travis was watching from across the street and noticed us. I carry stickers in my pocket just to hand out to kids so I went over to give him a sticker and he asked if I wanted to see his police car, so he went and showed me his police car."
Officer Ickes would return a few minutes later with his own cop car to show Travis. It was a small gesture that would mean the world to a five-year old with a bright smile.
"He had turned his car around and backed it right in front of our house and hopped out and said 'Hey Travis, you want to check out my car?' and my son's face just lit up," said Heidi Versluis, Travis's mother. "He wasn't sure if it was real life at that moment."
Travis wants to be a police officer himself and got a little help from Grand Rapids Police, making him an official junior officer with an official police cruiser of his own.
"He's only five years old, but he says he's wanted to be a police officer for three years now and it has actually had an impact on him," said Heidi Versluis. "Some of our arguments about eating and about bed time have become a little less dramatic I guess for a five-year old because he has this idea that he has to eat and be strong to go to the academy and he has to get good sleep so he can be a good officer."
But Officer Ickes says it's just another day on the job. Just last week he had an impromptu light saber battle with a child dressed like Spiderman. It would end up just being one of many.
"I battled probably 10 or 12 different kids that night, so that was one of many," said Ickes.
Ickes says he's not alone. Other officers in Grand Rapids are also taking the time to make a positive impact in the neighborhoods they keep safe.
"We're here to help people and we have a good time," said Ickes. "There's a serious time when we have to be serious, but most of us out here are lighthearted and have a good time interacting with people and have a lot of fun."
Versluis says Travis has been practicing his moves in their living room and will be ready to attend the police academy when the time comes.