An Iowa police officer is getting some positive press after video of him making a group of West Des Moines children smile went viral.
Portions of the video (shown below), shot Wednesday by West Des Moines resident Mario Sciorrotta, aired recently on WHO News.
“You wanna know something?” K-9 Officer Aaron Swenson says to the group of children as the video opens. “No one’s pet my dog in a really long time. You guys want to pet him?”
“Yeah!” the kids respond enthusiastically.
“All right, let’s go,” Swenson says as he leads them over to his patrol vehicle.
Swenson then gets his police K-9 from the vehicle and brings the dog over for the kids to pet. Swenson then plays fetch and tug of war while the children watch.
Sciorrotta said Swenson stopped to chat after the kids flagged him down.
“They were all saying look, look policeman, policeman,” Sciorrotta told WHO. “So I said everybody wave to him, trying to get his attention. And he was obviously watching the road and didn’t catch us until he had passed.”
He added that the officer then parked his vehicle around the corner “and was able to bring the K-9 out and allow the kids to interact and ask questions and have a really good time.”
Sciorrotta later posted the video to social media where it was was viewed over 200,000 times in one day, according to WHO.
The West Des Moines Police Department also shared the video with Facebook users.
There, it has been viewed over 375,000 times since Wednesday. It’s also generated a good deal of positive comments for the department from Facebook users.
“The ultimate positive PR. Great job WDMPD!” wrote user Brian Millard.
“WDM officer going above and beyond!” wrote Larr Eckart. “Thanks to all of the officers who do their best to keep us safe!!”
Sciorrotta told WHO he was surprised to see the outpouring of support.
“I’ve never seen such a huge gathering of people come together for once,” he said. “All races, all ages. Very supportive and positive about the video they had seen. They were glad that they had seen something positive and a lot of people were just sick of the negativity that’s going on.”
Police Sgt. Brent Kock also suggested the response was a bit overwhelming.
“I was a little surprised,” he told WHO. “Didn’t realize that many people had seen it.”
But he wasn’t surprised that Swenson took the time for the children.
“No. He does this on a daily basis, as well as other officers in our department,” Kock said. “And it’s something that we focus on and we try to instill in our officers.”
Photo Credit: Facebook: West Des Moines Police Department