ST. GEORGE — A 3-year-old with a rare form of cancer had her dream of becoming a police officer come true Wednesday when officers from multiple agencies responded “code 3” to the LaVerkin Police Department where she was sworn in by Police Chief Ben Lee.
LaVerkin Elementary School students and faculty lined Center Street holding signs and waving as little Marley Bergon was escorted to the LaVerkin Police Department by a procession of more than a dozen police vehicles. Police officers responded from agencies throughout Washington County in a show of support for the junior police officer’s swearing-in ceremony held at 9:30 a.m.
Lee said during introductions that Marley “is so excited to become a police officer,” and that once she was sworn in, she would be “an honorary LaVerkin Police Officer.”
The little girl is battling stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer. Her fight against cancer has continued for more than a year and has involved repeated trips to Primary Children’s Hospital where she is undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments.
A number of hospital staff were also made aware of Wednesday’s ceremony, the child’s mother, Vanessa Bergon, said.
“(Marley) was so excited that she told everyone at the hospital that she was going to become a police officer when she got home,” Bergon said.
During the oath, Marley repeated after Lee and pledged to uphold her duties, to be honest, do what is right, fight her cancer and never give up.
The swearing-in ceremony was the first of many police-related activities planned for the little girl Wednesday.
After leaving the LaVerkin Police Department, Marley headed to the St. George Communications Center for a tour of the 911 dispatch facility, which “plays such an important role in police work,” LaVerkin Police Sgt. Amber Crouse said.
“She also got to turn the lights and sirens on in the police car, as all officers get to do during their career,” Crouse said.
After the tour, Marley returned to Hurricane to qualify at the shooting range, armed with a Nerf gun. She also visited the LaVerkin Animal Shelter before returning to the LaVerkin Police Department for a special luncheon which included all of her favorite foods.
Wednesday’s events were set in motion more than a month ago after Crouse became aware of the little girl’s condition through the course of getting to know her family. Then, when she learned that Marley’s dream was to become a police officer, she set out to make that happen. A handmade police uniform was even made for the little girl by Kendra Johnson and Aubreana Garrett.
Crouse was soon joined in her efforts by Lee, Tiffany Mower and the entire LaVerkin Police Department, as well as the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Hurricane, St. George and Springdale Police Departments, and rangers with the Department of Natural Resources.
“We all come together when there’s something important,” Crouse said.
Evidence of that support was on display at a table covered in police patches, flashlights, stickers and other law enforcement regalia provided by the various departments to show support for the little girl.
Taking part in a cause like Marley’s is something officers enjoy doing, and whenever an opportunity like this presents itself, “we are all in,” Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Brock Bentley told St. George News.
Bentley said that officers are typically tasked with responding to crimes and other incidents that often result in interactions with the public that are not always positive. So, when an opportunity arises to support a child’s dream of becoming a police officer, particularly one that is fighting an illness like Marley, they get to take part in one of the things they enjoy most about the job — helping others.
More than a dozen police officers, deputies and rangers joined in the festivities Wednesday, including St. George Police Chief Richard Farnsworth and his Deputy Chief, Kyle Whitehead, who were in attendance.
For Marley’s mother, the efforts of the LaVerkin Police Department were very heartwarming. Bergon said having so many officers, community members, agencies, and even the City of LaVerkin, behind their family as they continue to battle their daughter’s cancer, has made the feelings of isolation and of being alone all but vanish.
“We really do have people behind us, rooting for us, even though we may not always see them,” she said. “We are not alone — they are there.”
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