Officers from the Grand Rapids Police Department shared some photos of Officers Ickes and Sgt. Al Noles on separate occasions and locations interacting with kids while on patrol during the course of their normal duties. These photos got a lot of attention and made some news.
After the photos started gathering so much social media attention a local news station took interest to find out more about the officer behind the story and the photo. They learned something about Officer Adam Ickes and the child depicted in the photo’s with him named Travis Versluis who is 5 years old.
The original post from the Grand Rapids Police Department was as follows on May 9, 2016 :
Officer and a kid show off thier cars. Officer Ickes takes a few minutes to admire a young citizen’s new wheels. The young man’s mother sent the following letter to the police department.
My name is Heidi and I live in Grand Rapids on the NW side. On Saturday, May 7 Officer Ickes responded to a call a few houses away from my residence. After he handled his call he noticed my son lurking a short distance away. My son is five years old and was sitting in his police car power wheel on the corner of our street. Officer Ickes walked over to our home to check out my sons police car. This moment of his time made my sons day!! He got to show a real officer his car and all of the buttons. He received badge stickers and special attention my son has only dreamed of because he aspires to be an officer of the law one day. He just idolizes officers.
Just when we thought Office Ickes had moved on to his next task, he came around the corner in his car and asked my son if he wanted to check HIS car out. I attached some picture so you could see how his face lit up. A little boy’s dream came true In a moments notice. Your office let Travis hit buttons and sit in the front seat!! It was everything He has pretended for years. Your officer gave a few other kids stickers and wished us a good evening.
As he left, he was able to catch a speeder down our road, which I am also thankful for. Anyway, I wanted you to know how much this extra ten minutes of time meant to my son, and to my husband and I. His happiness is what we strive for. Thank you, and a huge thank you to Officer Ickes. Our community needs more like him.
There was a follow up to this on Grand Rapids Police Department page:
A follow up to last week’s story – Office Ickes/Cop Car.
Dear Chief Savage,
Last week, the GRPD posted a story on Facebook about my son Travis and Officer Ickes. I was delighted to see the positive attention it quickly gained. I wanted to share with you the amazing end to that story.
The news article captured the attention of a retired sign maker in Fruitport. Amidst the flood of messages I received from people touched by the story was a note from Rick Cejmer, who knew there was something he could do to leave a lasting memory. In his home workshop, he generously worked up a design and gifted Travis with a custom sticker job to make his car look just like the real thing. I’ve attached some pictures so you could see how awesome it turned out.
I think time is something we all take for granted until we need it most. This just goes to show that giving someone just a few minutes of your time can create a lasting impression and inspire others. While Travis may not understand the social media impact of it all, at only five years old he is more motivated now than ever that someday he will drive the real thing.
I cannot thank the GRPD and Officer Ickes enough. Knowing how excited he always gets when he sees an Officer of any kind, this truly touched him so deeply and he is so proud of his car!!!
Fox17 interviewed Ickles who told how the encounter with Travis began; “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.”
The officer knowing how kids are and how excited that they get went on and stated : “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.”
The impact that this has on children should not be lost by parents, observers or Officers themselves. From the interview: “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.”
Another from post from the Grand Rapids Police Department shows that this is not a onetime occurrence, but happens quite frequently and with a variety of officers.
Traffic Unit Supervisor and Motor Officer Sgt. Al Noles made a friend this week while on patrol in Eastown. Killian is a big fan of police officers AND motorcycles. He is almost four, so in about 10 years we will keep a spot open for him in our Youth Police Academ
Yet another Post Grand Rapids Police Department
Our K-9 unit was in training off site today and ate breakfast before their shift in Grandville. One of our officers made a new friend. Thank you Officer Kribs for making this young man’s day special.
“Special thank you to this officer today for taking time out of his day to make my son Isaac feel like a million bucks. Officer Justin Kribs was with about 7 other officers today, May 18, 2016 eating at the Cracker Barrel in Grandville when he spotted my son at the table next to him with eyes of amazement and admiration. He willingly took his hand and showed him “Bobby” out in his work car, gave him high-fives and stickers and a badge, but what meant the most was the time he spent with my son. He was so kind, patient and informative about what he does in a way a child could understand. I’m sure this is a memory my son will never forget. Thank you GRPD for making my son’s day. You are a true hero.”
A last post here from the Department we show that illustrates how involved the agency is with kids and how Officers make it their business to interact with them.
Officer Ickes engages in a Friendly Encounter at Rosa Parks Circle
“It was a light saber battle at Rosa Parks circle. Little guy wanted to battle me and I didn’t have a light saber so my baton had to do.” – Officer Adam Ickes