Orange PD rolls out red carpet for visiting 'Officer Colin,' 9, of the Ithaca PD

By Greg Hardesty

For most of his life, Colin Hayward Toland, 9, has been battling brain cancer.

He’s a celebrity in his hometown of Ithaca, N.Y., because of his relationship with the Ithaca PD, which in September 2016 swore him in as the agency’s youngest police officer. His mother, Tamiko Toland, launched a Facebook page that details his policing adventures.

Last month, Colin and his mother, his father, Ian Hayward, and his older brother, Aidan, 13, were vacationing in California. While in Palm Springs, Colin suffered a medical setback and was taken to CHOC Children’s in Orange.

Word got around to the Orange PD, so they invited Colin to their station to speak to new recruits.

Lt. Dennis Gomez also took him for a spin in his police cruiser.

Screen grab from video. Courtesy of the Toland family

His mother expressed gratitude to the Orange PD for their hospitality.

“The Orange PD welcomed Officer Colin like one of their own,” Tamiko told Behind the Badge. “It was amazing to see him get up and speak to the new recruits and also to see how the officers understood Colin’s commitment to policing.

“The Orange PD will always be a second home for all of us. The culture in the department is very similar to the Ithaca PD, so it felt like being home, too.”

Orange PD Lt. Dennis Gomez hugs Colin. Photo courtesy of OPD

Said Lt. Gomez: “Colin is a true inspiration. He served as our honorary chief for the day and that left a lasting impression with our agency. His wisdom to dream big was shared with new officers. I am grateful for the time I got to spend with Officer Colin.”

Tamiko Toland said she’s happy Colin’s story is about policing and not his cancer. He has beaten the odds many times and was on hospice for about a year but has been taken off it for the time being because he’s doing so well now.

“Medically,” she said, “I have to believe that his relationship with the police has something to do with this and for his real zest for life.”

Below are two videos Toland shared on Colin’s Facebook page.

Officer Colin, as acting Chief for the day, rides with his Orange PD partner, Lt. Dennis Gomez.

Posted by Officer Colin: The Youngest Member of the Ithaca Police Department on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Officer Colin was made chief for the day in Orange, CA, where he also received the medal of valor and addressed newly minted officers. He shared key pieces of advice he has learned in a half year of service. We could not have found a more welcoming group of officers who embraced Officer Colin's mission to help others and encourage people to follow their dreams. Despite only getting discharged from the hospital the night before, he did a shift in sunny California and will always have a home here.

Posted by Officer Colin: The Youngest Member of the Ithaca Police Department on Tuesday, March 28, 2017