Dayton man with cerebral palsy gets ride-along with police

Nikolas Stevenson checked an item from his bucket list by riding along with Dayton Police Officer Tyler Head (left) on Monday, July 15. Stevenson, who was born with cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, has wanted to be a police officer since he was a young child.

By Vanesa Brashier,

Dayton resident Nikolas Stevenson fulfilled a lifelong dream of being a police officer, if only for one evening. On Monday night, Stevenson, who suffers cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, took an exciting ride with Dayton Police Officer Tyler Head.

Stevenson, 25, could not stop smiling as he explained how he and Head had assisted at a motor vehicle crash, looked for a vagrant sleeping outside a business and pulled over a motorist for a minor infraction.

“I’ve always wanted to be a cop, so I am learning,” Stevenson said. “I’ve seen cops on TV. This is a dream come true.”

The ride-along was arranged after Stevenson and his stepmother, Stacy, attended a recent Coffee With Cops/Donuts With Dispatch event hosted by Dayton Police Department.

“When he was a kid, I remember him saying he was going to be a cop during the day and bus tables at a Mexican restaurant at night. He would say he was going to work all the time,” she said with a laugh. “When I heard about the Coffee With Cops event in Dayton, I knew it was perfect for him. It went from there.”

At the event, he met Officer Head, and the two hit it off, said Lt. Shane Burleigh, spokesperson for Dayton Police Department. In the following days, a ride-along was arranged for Stevenson with Officer Head.

His stepmom says her son has been so excited about it that he has been unable to sleep in the days leading up to Monday.

“He has been watching all the police shows on TV. He was telling us how he was going to need a tazer and gun for the ride-along,” she said with a laugh.

Though he knows his disability will prevent him from ever being a police officer, Stevenson is content to serve on a new volunteer outreach program at Dayton Police Department. He will help with its Citizens Police Academy and National Night Out.

“We thought he would be excellent as our candidate #1,” Burleigh said.

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