By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor with excerpts from news media

Sterling Heights Police are known for helping children in their community. But it was still surprising for a local 5-year-old to receive a mini electric version of a Sterling Heights Police cruiser.

“His parents walked into the station and said he loves the police,” said Sterling Heights Police Association President Mike Kunath. Sterling Heights resident Zeke Campbell visited the station on different occasions throughout the year and has even stopped by to see officers at community events. “He would wear his little police uniform,” said Kunath, who is also MAP Executive Board Vice President.

“The guys love him,” said Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski in a article. “The guys found out his birthday was coming up, so we put the call out and asked if anyone wanted to chip in for a present.”

Officers visited him for his birthday, singing Happy Birthday, and giving him some unique presents - a new police “uniform” with his name embroidered on it, a custom-made badge pendant and the mini electric police car.

“The car is an exact replica of our police cars,” said Dwojakowski in the article.

“The car actually has the same miniature decals that are on the (Sterling Heights) police cars,” Kunath said. “It has a working PA and Bluetooth on it.”

“He has said many times that he wants to be a police officer. He said it is because he wants to help people and to arrest them for breaking speed limits,” said Sara Campbell, the boy’s mother, to “It has made our world,” she said of the officers visit and gifts. “But I know it has really completely made our son’s world."

In an email to the police department, Campbell wrote, “We cannot thank you enough for all that you guys did to make our son’s special day even more special. He has not stopped talking about the car, uniform, necklace and picture. He was over the moon and complete utter shock when you guys showed up with the sirens going … You all not only made his day even more special, it made every one of his schoolmates’ days as well.”

“I know you all struggle with the stigma of being bad, that people judge just because of the badge you all wear,” Campbell wrote. “We want you all to know that our family sees you all as people, with family and children, loved ones at home who worry every day you all put the uniform on. We pray for you all and every other officer around the world, that God keeps you all safe, that you all return home to your loved ones every day. We respect you all and know that your jobs aren't easy and that they come with a price. We are honored that you all have chosen a life to serve and protect others. Putting their safety above yours.”

Sterling Heights Police are also helping needy children in the Sterling Heights area again this holiday season through their participation in the FOP Lodge 118 Cops and Kids program. Officers from area departments raised money and will accompany 80 children on a shopping trip to Target Saturday, Dec. 7 to pick out gifts for themselves and their families. The children are encouraged to purchase warm clothes and outerwear as part of the program.

To accommodate the growing number of needy children in the area, Kunath said, an additional Cops and Kids program has been scheduled for Dec. 18 at Walmart. The officers’ fundraising efforts are complimented by generous donations from the participating retailers.

Click on the links below to view live coverage and news articles about Zeke Campbell's birthday surprise.