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Boy battling brain cancer named Detroit police chief for a day

Posted at 1:40 PM, Dec 02, 2022

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) — Aniel Mendez got to take a break from the worries of having brain cancer to be Detroit's top cop.

“Every moment, every minute means the world right now," said the 4-year-old's father, Jorge.

Aniel rode in a SWAT vehicle, sat on a mounted unit's horse, greeted officers and checked out a fire truck.

Odessa Mitchell, an 11th Precinct neighborhood police officer, is Mendez's neighbor. That’s how the department learned about Aniel's situation.

“I’m excited. I think I’m more excited than they are," Mitchell said.

Patti Kukula, head of the Detroit Public Safety Foundation, said the initial idea for Aniel to serve as Detroit's police chief became a reality in less than 24 hours.

“I have two healthy children, and you know, you just never know what comes the next day and so we are grateful to provide this excitement for this family and a memory that they’ll cherish forever," Kukula said.

“It’s absolutely amazing what they just did for this little man. We never expected something like that and for the city to do something like that and actually care. It means a lot,” Jorge added.

Aniel started radiation therapy this week. They are holding onto their faith for the best outcome possible.

"All the prayers that anyone can do for us, (we'd) be grateful,” Aniel's mom, Abby, said.

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