Cops aren’t particularly known for wearing their hearts on their sleeves. In fact, many of them have quite a tough reputation. But when one little girl walked into a police station, she brought the whole department to tears with two words.
Austin Police Department is responsible for keeping the citizens of Austin, Texas, safe. Indeed, the department’s 2,646 members of staff work hard to protect the 930,000 citizens that call the city home. However, theirs is often a thankless job.
But in 2015 some of Austin’s law enforcement officers finally received some appreciation. It all began when a little girl visited them at their station. And what she had to say to them simply made their day.
The 10-year-old, named Savannah Solis, had come down to the station just to say “thank you.” In fact, she had spent her Christmas break writing cards to the police officers, whom she regarded as heroes. And now she had the opportunity to tell them her thoughts in person.
In front of a dozen cops, Solis began to read her letter out loud. “To my heroes, I want to say please don’t stop. Please don’t give up,” she said. “Many do not care or appreciate the sacrifices that you make every day, but I do.”
“Many are standing with me today to let you know that you matter,” the little girl added. “Officers all across Texas, you matter to me. Officers in New York City, you matter to me. Officers all across America, you matter to me. Please keep taking care of us.”
As Solis delivered her heartwarming speech, many cops in the room were visibly moved to tears. Describing the emotional moment, Assistant Chief Jessica Robledo told KXAN, “I was so proud. The words that she spoke from her heart touched every single officer.”
“I noticed everyone was trying to blink back the tears,” she added. “That’s what it’s about. She’s an old soul, she knows the right thing to do, the right thing to say. I don’t even know if she realizes the impact of her words.”
Solis was spurred to reach out to the police department following the deaths of two officers in New York City in 2014. During their patrol of a Brooklyn neighborhood, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed by a rogue gunman. And when Solis heard about this awful event, it moved her to tears.
Although she lived all the way off in Tyler, Texas, the officers’ murder still had a big impact on Solis, and she decided to do something to show how much she cared. Subsequently, then, she penned letters to police departments all across the country.
When the officers at Liu and Ramos’s precinct heard about what Solis was doing, they wanted to meet her. So they invited the youngster and her family to visit them in New York. And, once again, Solis’ words had a profound effect on the cops who heard them.
Victor Cabral was one of the officers responsible for bringing Solis to the Big Apple. Recalling the special moment, he told WCBS 880 that the meeting was an invaluable experience. “It’s truly amazing how something that we desperately needed in that time — to have a little girl, as far as she was [away], to just thank us,” Cabral said.
Meanwhile, PBA President Pat Lynch said that people like Solis made the New York City cops’ jobs worthwhile. “I’m here on behalf of every New York City police officer to say, ‘Thank you,’” he stated. “Thank you for reminding us that across this country people like you appreciate folks like us.”
During her visit, officers presented Solis with a special award, and there were also hopes that she would be able to meet the widows of those fallen cops. “Savannah, you will always be a member of our family, the NYPD family,” Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen told her.
What’s more, although Solis had never visited New York before, she showed no interest in seeing the city’s many sights. Instead, she wanted to meet as many police officers as possible. To her, they were the main attraction.
In fact, according to her mother, Solis’ affinity for cops goes way back. “[When she was small] we would drive by and see them stopping somebody. And she would, in the back seat, stop and pray. [She’d] ask God to take care of them,” her mom revealed to KXAN.
“She just wants to keep meeting [police and] get as many autographs as possible,” Debbie Solis added. “They’re her heroes. She doesn’t look at celebrities like that and she does law enforcement. She adores them.”
Now, the determined little girl is on a mission to get more people involved in her campaign. Her family have helped her set up a Facebook page called “Help Savannah Say Thank You.” Hence, thousands of people are able to follow Solis’ tributes to cops across the U.S.
Solis’ crusade has not only earned her recognition online, but she’s also been able to travel the country. In fact, she’s even visited police officers as far away as London, England. What’s more, she’s already received a job offer.
Back home in Texas, the officers at the Austin Police Department have already claimed Solis as their own. Indeed, they want to help the youngster achieve her dream of becoming a cop. And, given her determination, she’ll no doubt make it to police chief by the time she’s 25.