Detroit police officers fill in for fallen and injured officers at Belleville High School
BELLEVILLE, Mich. – Senior night is special for high school students, and a group of Detroit police officers wanted to keep it that way for two Belleville teenagers.
Jaden Johnson and Lauren Hill are two excited Belleville High School students. Besides both being seniors, they share another bond -- their fathers were both Detroit police officers.
In 2013, Lauren's father, officer Patrick Hill, was killed on the job.
"Freshman year was probably the hardest year," Lauren said. "I entered high school not getting that piece of guidance I felt was important."
Jaden's father is unable to walk or speak, but he's was there for his senior appreciation night. Officer Waldis Johnson was shot in the head while responding to a shooting in April 2017.
"You can feel he's touched by everything," Jaden said.
Detroit police officers attended the senior appreciation night standing proudly because Johnson can't.
"We wanted to be here," said officer Nicholas Wagner.
Escorting Lauren was officer Mike Panackia. He stepped in where her father would have been.
"I love her and I loved her dad," Panackia said.
"It means a lot to know he still cares and supports me," Lauren said. "Honestly, he's like a second dad to me. I feel it's important he's here."
These police officers want to make sure the students know the Detroit Police Department has their backs no matter how much time passes.
"It's been kind of rough for the last couple of years. We've had a lot of losses," said police officer Chaplain Arthur Berry. "It's good to be there to know we can stand in with chief Craig and officers if they fall and their families."
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