Officer creates dream costume for 9-year-old with special needs

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A Kansas police officer tapped into his creative side to build a special costume for a special kid, according to WDAF.

Eric Hetlage was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 1. He's been in a wheelchair ever since.

“He has a lot of difficulty with seeing other kids being able to run and play and stuff like that; he wants to be able to do the things he sees all the other kids doing,” mom Sarah Scharschell said.

But for one day, he got to be surrounded by "fellow officers" from the police department.

Detective Parker says he had a lot of help and many local businesses donated to help make this special costume, but, by the time he was done, Eric had his own uniform and even his own squad car.

“It makes me want to cry, because for my son being in a wheelchair, he doesn't have a lot of friends and a lot of people don't do things for him – people look at him different,” Scharschell added. “It's a life changing event for my son, especially how he's become such good friends with officer Parker ... I pray officer Parker continues to stay in his life.”

Captain Tom Joyce with the KCK Police Department says detective Parker has a history of building cool things. Parker spent hours building the special police car just for Eric.

The 9-year-old who used to be scared of police now wants to be one himself, and refers to Parker as "my cop buddy.”

“That's all he talks about is officer Parker," said Sarah Scharschell. "He has a little fake cellphone, and he's on the phone all the time: 'I'm talking to Parker!'”

Hetlage went trick-or-treating at Kansas City, Kan., police headquarters Tuesday in his new Halloween costume.

“There's enough ugliness in the world, it's good to be able to share something positive,” Parker said.

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