Danville police officers attend birthday party for 6-year-old

Rajah Haley is autistic, loves police

By Colter Anstaett - Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - Rajah Haley is 6 years old and, according to her mother, is obsessed with the police.

Rajah is no stranger to the police department.

"My daughter is autistic," Rajah's mother, Christina Rudd, said. "She is a high risk runner. When she was running into traffic, seems like every day, they would take the time out to go and get her."

So Rajah's mother had a couple of police officers stop by Rajah's birthday party over the weekend.

The visit was a surprise to Rajah.

"She jumped up, eyes about popped out of her head," Rudd said, describing her daughter's reaction to seeing the police officers.

"One of them took a picture of me going down the slide," Rajah said.

"It made me feel really good that I could be her idol," Officer J.N. Milan-Carter said.

"One thing that Chief Booth has brought to the Danville Police Department is community engagement: showing the community that we do come out, we are human beings out here doing this job," Lt. J.W. McLaughlin said.

That's the message Rajah's mother hopes people, especially her daughter, take away from this.

"People are trying to tell my daughter police are bad, police are this. That's not what I want my kids to start thinking," Rudd said.

"It's very rewarding when the police can go into the community and we know that we're in a community that wants to partner with the police department," McLaughlin said.

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