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Girl’s dream of becoming a cop comes true

Madison Pruitt

Interim Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and 75 officers walked to Madison Pruitt's house Wednesday to make her dream of being a cop come true. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Six-year-old Madison Pruitt, who has cancer, wanted to become a cop.

So on Wednesday afternoon, interim Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson walked two blocks from the Gresham District police station to Madison’s home in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood to make her dream come true.

Marching behind Johnson were about 75 cops, including two on horseback.

“I heard your lifelong dream was to be a Chicago Police officer,” Johnson told the little girl, who was bundled up and sitting in a wheelchair as the two met on the front porch of her home where she is receiving hospice care.

“So today I’m going to make it official, and make you a lifelong Chicago Police officer, congratulations,” he said, placing a Chicago police cap on her head. The brim promptly sank down over her face.

In a voice not more than a squeak, Madison said she wanted to be a police officer “because you get to protect people.”

Each officer made their way up to the front porch to see Madison, including one of the mounted patrolman — still on his horse. Another officer had his police canine — a black lab — by his side.

Madison’s grandmother, Pamlor Nelson, smiled and cried as she looked on.

The ceremony was originally supposed to be held at the nearby police station, but when Madison’s health prevented her from leaving home, officers called a last-minute audible and went to her.

“I am overjoyed with the Chicago Police Department,” Nelson said. “It makes me feel real joyful. That was the most wonderful part, when they said they were going to come to us.”

Madison’s law enforcement aspirations developed recently, Nelson said, noting that there are a few cops in the family.

“When she was little she said she just wanted to wash dishes and clean up the house,” she added with a laugh.

“Her nickname is ‘Bossy Mama,’ so that says a lot. How I know she’s doing good is when she starts to boss me around,” Nelson said. “She’s a girly girl. She loves her nails done. She likes to get her hair done. She loves riding her bike and playing with her cousins.”

Madison was diagnosed last April with rhabdomyosarcoma, a muscle cancer, and has undergone radiation and chemotherapy. The cancer went into remission but returned around the holidays, Nelson said.

“I’ve been through a lot of things in my career, but this right here, it knocks me back,” said Sgt. Ernest Spradley, who heads up the district’s Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy.

Asked about the significance of Johnson and other top command staff attending the event, Spradley said: “It means that there is a brighter day for the police department, we have a superintendent that the entire department loves. And he loves us. He’s going to make us proud, and we’re going to make him proud. And this is just indicative of what we can all do as a city united together.”