Cops for Kids Fly-In raises spirits of Loma Linda Children’s Hospital’s youngest patients

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courtesy photo/rialto police dept. Inland Valley SWAT Ofc. Michael Mastaler helps a youngster into a SWAT vehicle during the annual Cops for Kids Fly-In.
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courtesy photos/ rialto police dept. 17th annual Cops for Kids Fly-In at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital.
courtesy photos/ rialto police dept.
17th annual Cops for Kids Fly-In at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital.

Dozens of police officers helped bring smiles and laughter to Loma Linda University’s Children’s Hospital’s youngest patients Tuesday during the annual Cops for Kids Fly-In.

Marking its 17th year, the event brings law enforcement from throughout Southern California and military members from to deliver toys to patients at the children’s hospital in a very big way.

The delivery starts with a grand entrance of four law enforcement helicopters hovering over the hospital and landing on the lawn, followed by a parade of sirens from police motorcycles, squad cars and SWAT vehicles — all while young patients and their families stand in awe and excitement.

After the grand arrival, patients were able to interact with officers, step into helicopter cockpits and jump into law enforcement vehicles. Each child received a sticker and a gift from an officer. For those patients too sick to leave their rooms, officers made a special delivery and handed toys personally to children.

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“It’s the greatest feeling seeing happiness come from the kids,” said Rialto police Ofc. Dwuan Rice. “The kids were all stoked seeing us.”

It was Rialto Police Department’s first time participating in the event, and officers are already looking forward to next year.

“I had two kids say, you guys made our day,” he said. “Just hearing that brings a smile to my face and is a reminder that no matter what our public perception is, we do good in the community…,” Rice said.

flyin_chopperThis year’s participating agencies included: Riverside Police Air Support, Riverside Police Traffic Division, Riverside Police K-9, Riverside Police EOD, Corona Police, Riverside Sheriff Air Support, Riverside Sheriff SWAT, San Bernardino Sheriff Air Support, San Bernardino Sheriff SWAT, San Bernardino Sheriff – West Valley and Glen Helen Detention Facilities; San Bernardino Sheriff – Central Station; San Bernardino Police – Traffic Division; CHP Air Support – Apple Valley; CHP – San Bernardino, Rancho and Riverside; Rialto Police Department; Redlands Police Department; Los Angeles Police Department; Fontana Police Department; Ontario Police Air support; Burbank Police Air Support; Patton State Hospital Police and Hemet Police Department – K9.

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