Southeast Fresno police officers and detectives received a special treat Friday when 9-year-old Jaylene Perez personally delivered pizza and candy – bought with her own birthday money – to their substation.
Jaylene, a fourth-grader at Bakman Elementary School, used money that she received for her birthday in July to buy the pizza and candy.
“It’s good to care about people that care for us,” Jaylene said. “The police have a dangerous job, and they protect us.”
Jaylene walked into the substation on Cedar Avenue just after 3 p.m., holding a handmade decorated sign that read, “I support law enforcement.” She was followed by her parents carrying the pizza and her 3-year-old brother, Nevin Perez, who was fascinated by photos of guns at the substation.
Jaylene’s parents said they are extremely proud of their daughter, noting that delivering the pizza was her idea.
“She has a really good heart,” said her mom, Jennifer Perez, who said her daughter also used some of her birthday money to donate to Valley Children’s Hospital.
Perez said her daughter has wanted to be a police officer since she first learned that there are female officers a few years ago.
“She didn’t know there were woman officers; we had to tell her,” Perez said. “I can’t really keep her from watching the news, so she knows what’s going on.”
As officers filed in, they took a slice of pizza and thanked Jaylene for her kindness. Some gave her hugs, others handshakes, and some even took selfies with Jaylene and her brother.
“This is the best part of my day,” said Detective Braden McFarland. “It’s nice to have this at work, and then I get to go home on a positive note.”
During Jaylene’s visit, officers chatted with her and her family and gave her some advice. “Pick good friends, listen to your parents,” McFarland said.
Jaylene, who told officers her favorite subjects in school are math and science, said she also is thinking about joining the Marines when she grows up.
“She knows she can be whatever she wants, but she has to do well in school,” her mother said.
“Support people that support us, that’s her vision,” said her dad, Gabriel Perez. “We just run with it. (We) support her 100 percent.”