BTBuzz: Toddler creates his own tribute to fallen officer

By Claire Coleman

Good things come in small packages – like 3-year-old Cohen Chastain, who stood at attention for more than two hours at a funeral procession for fallen Polk County Detective Kristen Hearne.

Cohen, a preschooler from Rockmart, Ga., decided to show his support all on his own.

“It was all his idea,” Cohen’s mother, Mandy Chasten, told TODAY. “He had a lot of questions with all the police officers at church that day and I decided I should just tell him the truth. He was really heartbroken when I explained what had happened and he wanted to wear a police uniform and stand for the procession.”

Although Cohen had never met Hearne, his positivity was a welcome relief for the small town and beyond. The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, where Hearne started her career, recently recognized Cohen for his act of kindness.

Cohen was called to Aragon’s City Hall, where he arrived to a crowd of officers waiting to thank him. Hearne’s family was also there to meet him. The group taught Cohen and Hearne’s son, Isaac, also 3 years old, about life as a police officer.

Floyd County named Cohen an honorary deputy, complete with a backpack full of goodies, his own police badge, and a custom-built Power Wheels Police SUV. The car even had a “Deputy Cohen” sticker on the front windshield. And at the end of the day, Cohen shared his thanks by standing tall and reciting the entire Pledge of Allegiance.

“It’s just a really hard time right now…our community is still struggling,” Chasten said. “We’re just so proud that Cohen was able to shed a little bit of light during a dark time.”