FORT WORTH, Texas - A 7-year-old boy from Collin County took a field trip to the Fort Worth Police Department and got his own personal private tour.
It's all because of a letter and a police patch he sent to Fort Worth Police Officer Matt Pearce, who was shot in the line of duty. It was Pearce's way of saying thank you.
7-year old Casen Kitts has looked up to police officers all his life. So when he saw Officer Pearce was shot in the line of duty last year, he immediately wanted to send him a token of support and their friendship grew from there.
Casen is a little shy, but he knows what he wants to be when he grows up.
“Because cops get the guys who's being bad,” he said.
“He has his mind set he's going to be an officer,” explained his mom, Tracy Kitts.
Casen struck up an unlikely friendship with Pearce, who was shot five times during a pursuit more than a year ago. The incident had a profound effect on Casen.
“He said, ‘Please, can I send him something?’” Tracy recalled.
Casen ended up sending Pearce one of his dad's police patches from the Leonard Police department out in Fannin County, northeast of Blue Ridge where he and his family live. He also sent a get well card.
Pearce, touched by the gesture, returned the favor with a patch of his own and a personal tour of the Fort Worth police department on Wednesday. From a visit to the police chief's office to putting on some gear of his own to a look in the SWAT unit, Casen saw it all.
“This is how we get kids interested in policing,” Pearce said. “And then they end up applying and come out here to be police officers as well.”
Pearce says he's received more than 800 patches from around the world, but Casen's stuck out to him.
“I didn't get letters from a lot of kids,” the officer said.
And in several years, Pearce says he could see Officer Casen out on the streets. But don't expect his hero, Officer Pearce, to go easy on him.
“I'll give him a high five and make sure he's doing his job just like everyone else,” Pearce said.
Pearce says he's still in physical therapy three times a week and recovering from his injuries. He hopes to be back out on the streets in uniform in 6 to 8 months or more.