'Police Lives Matter' - Heartwarming gesture lifts spirits of Slidell Officer

'Police Lives Matter' - Heartwarming gesture lifts spirits of Slidell Officer

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Nine-year-old Jayden Witsell's been obsessed with law enforcement for as long as his mom can remember.

"Always, always, his first Halloween costume, he was three. He wanted to be a police officer," said Angelique Witsell.

Jayden's daily attire consists of dark pants, shoes, police pins and a belt. On his belt, he sports a fake radio, handcuffs and a security badge. It's as close to the real thing as he can do for now.

Still, Jayden wanted to find a way to show all law enforcement how much he respects them.

"He said Mom, please can we get some St. Michael pocket coins, so that men and women can keep them in their pocket," Witsell said.

Jayden says, "Here's the front of it. The back says, Keep us safe day and night and give us strength and might."

Jayden and his mother now spend their days riding around to find officers.

Yesterday, Jayden spotted Officer Joe McMahn at Robert Boulevard and Audubon Drive.

"I saw a vehicle come up behind me, flashing it's brights. I saw a lady saying, can you pull over," McMahn said.

Officer McMahn didn't hesitate and pulled his unit over.

"That's when Jayden got out of the car and approached the side of my car. He asked me if he could give me something. I didn't know what to expect," McMahn said. "That's when he handed me a card. It said, Police lives matter."

The officer chatted with Jayden and the two parted ways.

"After they left, I started opening the card and reading it. On the top, it had a St. Michael's medal taped to it," McMahn said. "I knew what St. Michael stood for, and it really got to my heart."

Officer McMahn said the emotional encounter made him thing about why he wears a badge.

"When I was first hired, they asked me a question. They said, Why do you want to be a police officer?" McMahn said. "Everybody gives a standard answer, but after 16 years I found my answer. It's because I want to make the community better for our children."

The one thing the officer regretted was not taking a picture with Jayden. 24 hours later, he was given that chance.

Officer McMahn now says, the 9 year old is his hero.

"He became my hero because he was brave enough to go out and show everybody he was willing to support police officers when others are posting negatives things about us," McMahn said.

Jayden's mom said he started handing out medals about six weeks ago. So far, he's given away about 40 of them.

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