DALLAS — Friday morning, officers from all over North Texas were called to Saint Luke United Methodist in Dallas to pursue a person of interest.
That person was a 10-year-old from Houston named Devarjaye Daniel.
DJ, as he prefers to be called, was sworn in as an honorary member of the force. It’s all part of his mission to join as many law enforcement agencies as he can before he dies.
Daniel has terminal brain and spinal cancer. Three years ago, he was given just five months to live, but just listening to the kid, you’d never know it
“Man, this is a church, you can’t be lying in here,” he joked with Major Leroy Quigg of the Dallas Police Department.
Daniel dishes out almost as many jokes as he does hugs, a surprising amount of those hugs to women.
“Sir, why are you in this line,” he joked with one gentleman. “You’re not a woman.”
Daniel got the idea to be a police officer from a 7-year-old girl named Abigail Arias.
Arias had cancer, too. She dreamed of working in law enforcement.
So when she died in 2019, her mission became Daniel’s mission.
“I know Abigail wouldn’t give up and I’m not going to give up on her,” Daniel said.
Daniel's goal was to become an honorary member of 100 different agencies. He reached that mark earlier this year and Friday he added nearly three dozen to that list.
Thirty-one law enforcement agencies from all over North Texas made Daniel an honorary officer.
Dallas mayor Eric Johnson proclaimed March 11, 2022 “DJ Daniel Day,” and Luka Doncic even delivered three signed jerseys for Daniel and his family.
“You can’t help but fall in love with this kid,” Major Quigg said.
Obviously, this kind of goodwill will not cure Daniel’s cancer, but he says it has done something to his heart.
“It’s just like the Grinch’s heart [It was] this little, and this little and this little and going to about that size,” he said, using his hands to show how his heart has grown. “My heart’s not small, it’s big.”
Daniel’s mission to not only become a police officer, but to honor those who serve has made an impact on them, too.
“We have our bad days, but you know what,” Major Quigg said, “I just think about DJ. He has bad days and he’s pushing through and trying to deliver this message.”
A message he plans to continue sharing because he’s got a lot of people to reach and a lot more hugs to give.