ST. LOUIS (KSDK)- It's graduation day at the Citizens Police Academy and a photographer captures a story of dedication, but not the whole story.
"Shawn is a very special young man. He loves the police department, "says Sgt. Catherine Dennis of St. Louis Police.
Shawn Chickey, 19, is the shyest person in this class, but in many ways he's also the boldest.
Less than a year after he was born, Shawn was diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy. A dozen seizures until the age of 3 and a half damaged his brain but not his heart. And there has been one great passion in his life.
"He has great admiration of anything law enforcement, "explains his mom Jane Chickey.
So after hearing his story, the St. Louis Police Department opened a space in their Citizens Police Academy program. Once a week for 12 weeks, Shawn learned all about how to protect and serve.
"The students get visits from bomb and arson, canine unit, sex crimes and homicide," Sgt. Dennis said.
Class members also participate in role-play learning to diffuse situations that officers encounter everyday. For most students, the goal is a better understanding of the police department and what they do. For Shawn, the goal was a bit loftier.
"As a parent you want all your child's hopes and dreams to come true and sometimes you have to be a little creative with it and Sgt. Dennis and the Metro Police Department have enabled us to have that dream for Shawn, "Jane Chickey said.
And though he was a bit hesitant to talk about it, Shawn showed he was duty-bound by making it through the course.
In fact, the St. Louis Police Department was so impressed they not only gave Shawn a certificate of achievement, they named him a police officer for a day.
With a big smile his mom added, "he gets to realize something he'll remember the rest of his life."
Our city's finest in one of their finest hours, helping one young man wear his dream like a badge of honor.