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Pennsylvania boy gets wish granted, sworn in as a police officer

Make-A-Wish granted eight-year-old Landen Baer's wish and on Jan. 14, he became a member of the York County Regional Police Department.
Credit: Loving Memories Photography

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — A young boy who used his one wish to make his community a safer place was sworn in as the newest member of the York County Regional Police Department on in East Manchester Township. 

Thanks to Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia, eight-year-old Landen Baer's dream came true.

Landen's mom, Brittany McKee, says while he's overcome numerous battles since being diagnosed with cancer at seven-years-old, he has had a tough ride after undergoing a more aggressive chemotherapy treatment.

"It's causing him a lot of physical pain," explained McKee. "He's most days in a wheelchair and he can't walk."

Despite the pain, Landen pushed through to receive the one and only wish he's ever wanted: to become a police officer.

"He's a people-pleaser. Basically, he tries to do anything and everything to try to make people happy," said McKee.

Make-A-Wish granted Landen's wish and he became a member of the York County Regional Police Department.

Landen said he decided on his wish because he wanted "to arrest bad guys if they do bad stuff, and put them in jail."

This wish came as a surprise to the York County Regional Police Department.

Officers with the department said it's a struggle to recruit new officers with the recent police and community divide going on throughout the nation.

"If you ask young people eight-years-old 'what's your number one wish you would like to have' and that was his choice, it's incredible, it's humbling," said Lt. Ken Schollenberger. 

After being sworn in, officers gave Landen a tour of the police department, leading him through a "day in the life," including activities like apprehending a "criminal," training a K9 officer, writing a parking ticket, riding along in a patrol car and more.

This was the Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia's 20,000th wish. A full-circle moment for them, given that they granted their first wish in 1980 to a boy with leukemia who also wanted to be a police officer.

"One percent of our wishes are occupational wishes to become a police officer, so this is really cool for us," said Senior Director of Make-A-Wish's York Regional office Ann Waltman. 

Officer Baer's wish experience wasn't over after being sworn in. 

On Jan. 15, he led a group of first responders in a parade around town after a warm welcome from Mount Wolf's Mayor Maureen (Mo) Starner.

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