One boys dream: To end a city's nightmare
IMPD Chief Rick Hite told 8-year-old Jacen Troxell Wednesday night, "You made a difference."
In this year that has seen a spike in attacks on police officers, Jacen's dream is that "Police officers would not be killed."
The murder of IMPD Ofc. Perry Renn this summer, shot by a high-powered rifle in the line of duty, got 8-year-old Jacen Troxell dreaming even harder. He set up a fund online to raise money to upgrade officers protective vests.
He raised $17,000 to buy special plates that slip into existing vests.
"This has the ability to stop a higher level of threat," explained a firearms training expert.
Like the high-powered round that killed Ofc. Renn, who happened to be a good friend of Det. Andy Troxell - Jacen's dad - who was shot in the line of duty himself 10 years ago.
"I am very proud of what my son has accomplished," Det. Troxell said Wednesday night.
The first of the new protective plates went to 16 late shift officers working Ofc. Renn's old patrol areas on the northeast side. Jacen and his brother did the honors, shaking hands with each officer.
Also honored by Point Blank Body Armor was IMPD Ofc. Greg Milburn, who was shot this summer trying to rescue two women from a gunman. His vest kept him safe.
"It's an outpouring of support," said Milburn. "We've had a tough year at IMPD. And I think it gives us on the police department a bit of confidence and faith from the community. That shows we're backed and appreciated."
Jacen was given a ribbon, a plaque and even a medal of honor, but the greatest reward was summed up by Chief Rick Hite: "You want to make sure your dad comes home - and they want to make sure their family comes home as well."