Covington Police Department’s honorary officer Morgan Steward, 5, showed his brightest smile after a few hours of fighting crime around the Square. Tuesday, Dec. 17 was officially observed as Officer Morgan Day by U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson, District Seat 10. (Staff photo: Jessicah Peters)
COVINGTON — Since the day he was sworn in as the youngest Covington Police officer, Morgan Steward set his sights on keeping the city safe.
Thousands of supporters gathered around the Square Tuesday to cheer on Steward as he fought crime.
Steward, 5, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy when he was just 15 months old. Earlier this month the Covington Police Department learned that Steward had always dreamed of being a police officer, and welcomed him to the force as an honorary officer. On Tuesday he was able to put his policing skills to work.
Patrolling the city Square, Steward helped people cross the street safely, then received a call about a burglar at the BB&T bank’s safe.
After capturing the robber, who attempted to steal a crown and jewels and begged to be released from his handcuffs, Steward said, “This is worth $1,000, I can’t let you go.”
Once the crime-fighting slowed down for Steward, Eric Hubbard, a representative for U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson, officially declared Tuesday, Dec. 17 as Officer Morgan Day.
“It’s just such a great thing to see his dream come true,” said Tangi Foreman Steward, the youngster’s mother. “This is not just about one child, it’s about the Families of SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). That organization helps us learn how to keep Morgan alive.”
Barron Steward, Morgan’s father, said it’s the support of the city and others that keeps his family encouraged.
“We have to focus on the children’s desires and dreams. They’re smart and if we invest in their minds, we can help them accomplish their dreams,” Barron Steward said.
Morgan Steward will be given a new wheelchair that will resemble a police car, as well as four tickets from Southwest Airlines to a special destination. Make-a-Wish Georgia CEO John Brennan shared with Morgan the special destination would be a Disney cruise.
Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall presented Morgan with his very own “Hollywood of the South” star that will be placed in the sidewalk around the Square.
“I’m a star,” Morgan said.
But after receiving the gifts, the young officer had one more thing to do. A cat stuck high in a tree needed to be rescued, but Morgan couldn’t reach it.
Retired 7-foot, 1-inch NBA star Shaquille O’Neal came to Morgan’s aid to save the feline.
Once the crime-fighting came to a close for the day, Morgan said, “I’m going to talk to kids and help them be good people.”