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Sheriff Abbett with Taylor

A dream comes true

By Suzannah Solomon Wilson

Reeltown High School junior Isaiah Taylor has wanted to be a law enforcement officer since he was five-years-old.

On Jan. 7, Student Resource Officer Jason Cowart helped make that dream come true.

It was standing room only in the RHS cafetorium as Isaiah’s family, the student body and faculty, and an estimated 100 law enforcement officials witnessed Isaiah take the oath of office.

Isaiah was born with a rare genetic disorder called Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD).  PMD affects the central nervous system; it is associated with the white matter of the brain and spinal cord.  The disorder has confined Isaiah to a wheelchair, but it has not confined his spirit.  He’s a popular student who has won over the heart of students and teachers alike.

Isaiah’s mom, Jacklyn Baker, works at Reeltown Elementary School.  Every  morning she drops off Isaiah before she has to check in, and he and SRO Cowart spend time together.

About a month ago, Isaiah expressed to Cowart that his dream was to become a law enforcement official.  And so the planning began, a plan Isaiah and his mom never would have imagined.

Taylor and his mother with members of the Macon County Sheriff's Department

Tallapoosa County Chief Deputy David McMichael began the program with an expression of how much Isaiah had inspired him and his department.

“Isaiah, you have inspired us.  You have revived us and energized us.  You have reminded us of what’s really important.  You are about to be sworn in and join the thin blue line of police officers.”

McMichael went on to describe to the audience how thin that line really is.

“There are about 330 million people in the United States and only 700,000 law officers.  There are 4.8 million Alabamians, 417 agencies, and only about 12,000 officers.  If you put us in Jordan-Hare stadium, which holds almost 88,000 we might fill up the north end zone.”

He went on to read the Code of Ethics, and  you could hear a pin drop.

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett, who called it “probably the best swearing in I have ever done,” swore Isaiah in, and Special Agent Fred Hutcherson with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s State Bureau of Investigation surprised Isaiah by making him a special agent, complete with his own vest.  “You are now one of us, but you can’t wear the vest and go with us unless Sheriff Abbett says you can,” he told him.

SRO Cowart concluded the formal  part of the program with some words for Isaiah.  “Thank you Isaiah, for the dream you had.  People tell you you can be anything you want.  Isaiah accomplished his dream today.  Today  you  have grown  up.  Now you will be my partner.  For the rest of this year and all of next year, you will be my partner here at Reeltown.  I love you and you are a part of our family.”

On the table in the cafetorium were patches, hats, and tee shirts from law enforcement agencies and police and sheriff’s departments all over the state.  After the program, the officers continued to add to Isaiah’s collection and each office greeted him with a handshake and a smile.  They lined the hallways of Reeltown High School as Isaiah, his mom and family, and SRO Cowart made their way down the hall and out the door where the SRO vehicle awaited his inspection.  After a brief ride around the school., the state helicopter was waiting on him.  Isaiah took a short tour of the Reeltown area and finished his special day inspecting vehicles from the Macon County Sheriff’s department.

Isaiah’s mom summed up their feelings about the day:  “Words cannot express the love and gratitude Isaiah and I felt for everyone involved in making this dream a reality.  Without the generous support of
Reeltown and the community, Isaiah’s dream may not have been possible.  We are definitely blessed to be a part of the Reeltown Family.”