MANSFIELD — It’s not often Mansfield police Chief Keith Porch gives his new officers a hug, much less one that lifts them off their feet.

Then again, that new officer has never been a 5-year-old, like Allysson Nead.

Allysson, the daughter of Amber and David Nead of Shelby, was duly sworn in on Wednesday morning during a ceremony outside the Municipal Building, receiving officer badge No. 300.

It was a dream come true for Allysson, who is battling Neimann-Pick C, a rare progressive genetic disease, that was diagnosed shortly after birth. Her disease affects her neurological system and the family has seen a progression of symptoms.

“She told me she wants to help and protect people,” David Nead said, pointing out he had planned to be a law enforcement officer, graduating from Pioneer Career & Technology Center in 2005.

Today he’s an equipment operator for Carrousel Properties. Nead credited his wife, who has quit work to take care of the youngster. He also pointed to the child’s excitement preparing for her big day.

“She was phenomenally excited. She kept saying, ‘Dad, I am gonna be an officer.’ I told her, ‘I know, baby, you’re gonna help the police protect and serve like you want to do.’

“She said, ‘You can call me Officer Nead and she smiled from ear to ear,” her dad said. “Shelby did a full escort down here today with lights and sirens. She is definitely excited.

“I have graduation photos of me in the Class A uniform and she always sees it,” said Nead, pointing out family friends who are law enforcement officers often stop by the house.

“Officers would let her hit the buttons and she just fell in love … would always smile ear to ear. On her preschool (papers), she wrote that she wants to be a police officer.

“Mansfield heard about it and asked if it would be OK to do a day like today,” the proud dad said.

Porch hug

Porch was joined by members of his command staff, law enforcement officials from around the county and elected officials — all of whom came to see Allysson’s big moment.

“It is the honor of the mayor, the safety director, myself and command staff that we’re able to do this ceremony today,” Porch said.

“Swearing in Allysson will bring us to 82 officers and she has a cram-packed day full of activities that she’ll be performing for her duties as a patrol officer and as a detective with the division of police,” the chief said.

“It is definitely my honor to be able to do this swearing in ceremony,” Porch said.

Assistant Chief Jason Bammann also welcomed the new officer to the ranks.

“This is a great time to get into law enforcement. We could use all the help and I appreciate you stepping up, kiddo. I appreciate you wanting to be a  police officer cause the community needs us right now,” said Bammann, who also presented the youngster her badge.

“So what is significant about this badge is as each officer is given a badge number, our radio code for the Mansfield police department is 300. So when we got to 300 in the badge numbers, we skipped over (it) and left 300 open and continued with 301. That number stays with (an officer) forever. That’s never reassigned,” Bammann told her.

“That number is always yours. So I’m proud to announce Allysson that you have been given badge 300 so you will always be a member of the Mansfield Police Department,” the assistant chief said.

Porch handed Allysson a $20 bill, officially putting her on the city payroll for the day. She promptly tucked the crisp bill into her uniform shirt pocket.

“I’m gonna pay you in advance for your shift that you’re gonna work today. But I can’t have you doing any overtime cause they I have got to watch the budget,” he said.

“So this equals to about $2 an hour …  so you definitely make more than the assistant chief,” Porch said.

He also assigned Allysson her first case.

“I understand we have a case of some missing candy or some stolen candy within the city building. As a detective, she’s going to be working to solve that case,” the chief said.

Dave Remy, the city’s acting safety service director, administered the oath of office to Allysson, who stood proudly at attention and quietly said, “I do” to each question.

After the ceremony, other law enforcement agencies welcomed Allysson to the thin blue line.

Allysson Nead

Richland County Sheriff Steve Sheldon presented Allysson a pink bag containing an RCSO ballcap and shirt.

“When you get tired of wearing that Mansfield police hat … this will keep your hair nice and neat,” Sheldon said. “When Chief Porch started in law enforcement, this is the one he was wearing. He started at a young age, too.”

The Richland County Sheriff Law Enforcement Assistance Fund also provided Allysson with a one-year membership to the Columbus Zoo.

Ontario Police Chief Tommy Hill gave Allysson another bag with badges and other goodies, including “a five-star patch because you’re 5 years old.” He also provided her with an OPD ballcap.

“Now when you get tired of wearing the Mansfield hat and the county hat, this is the one that you want to wear,” Hill said.

Shelby police Sgt. Tim Scott, one of the officers who stops by Allysson’s house, provided her with a 300 badge that included gift cards for doughnuts and ice cream.

He then went into the Municipal Building to retrieve the final gift — a drivable child-size 4×4 police cruiser.

“So beyond being Mansfield PD, she’s one of ours in Shelby… that’s where she resides. So we wanted to be a big part of this today. There’s one more thing that you need though. You can’t be a cop without a car,” Scott said.

Allysson quickly climbed inside her new patrol vehicle.

“You don’t have to worry about the seatbelt. There’s no (state) troopers around,” Porch said to laughter.

After the ceremony and gifts, Allysson gave her first media interview as a police officer.

“I am very happy,” she said. “I want to do this kind of work.”

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when...

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