Jaylin Thomas, 21, was a young and impressionable teenager when officers visited his school about five years ago.
When they left, they had no idea they had taken the first steps toward forging a special friendship with Thomas that would last far longer than their time spent at the school.It only took a couple of days for officers to see the impact they made on Thomas.
Southgate Police Sgt. Nathan Mosczynski said Thomas visited the department and brought them a miniature handmade statue of a police officer.
The gesture was the start of a cherished friendship between Thomas and the entire department.
Thomas is a special needs student working in the life skills transition program at JoBrighten Skills Center in Wyandotte.
Mosczynski said the statute has seen better days, but it was put in the roll call room where it can be seen by all officers — and it’s still there.
He also included a personal note to the officers.
“In my letter, I told them how much I appreciate what they do and thanked them for protecting us,” Thomas said.
He explains that the statue is a present for the officers for protecting him and the city.
The letter, in part, relays the following message:
“Thank you officers for being there to help us and helping children if they are lost and bringing them home to safety,” the letter said. “Southgate police officers look out for criminals if they steal or hurt a civilian. They will take the criminal to jail. And that’s why Southgate police officers are there to help — and not be scared of us. If a civilian is hurt, we tell a Southgate police officer. Thank you. It really means a lot Officer Mosczynski and other officers.”
From time to time, Thomas can be seen walking all around Southgate and he has added the department as a stopping point on his journey so he can say hello to everyone.
Mosczynski said Thomas pops up and regularly and takes selfies with various officers in the building and out on the road.
He applauds Thomas for learning many of the officers by name.
On his most recent visit, Thomas didn’t come empty handed.
“They love donuts and cookies,” Thomas said.
He recently brought a batch of cookies to the department and took more selfies with officers and the cookies before the sweets were gone.
The department posts its pictures with Thomas on its social media page.
Thomas takes the liberty of getting creative with his photos, noting that he tries to make them fun and humorous. He has dozens of them
Officers encourage him every step of the way.
Each picture has one thing in common — Thomas’ big signature smile.
He now lives in Southgate near the police department.
After graduating from high school, the Wyandotte Police Department was one of his work sites through JoBrighten.
He said he did some clerical work and enjoyed his time there, too.
Not only has Thomas embraced the Southgate officers, they have become quite fond of him as well.
“He knows the officers by name and he even asks me about my daughter,” Mosczynski said.
The sergeant referred to Thomas as a “bright light” and explained why his visits mean just as much to the officers at the department as they do to him.
“In our profession, we typically are meeting someone on their worst day — at a bad time in their life,” Mosczynski said. “He brings a positive attitude and lets us know there are people out there that love us. It brightens up our day.”