January 28th

MR. Fillion, Mordochka, is a policeman. But he’s not a typical policeman in that he is the first skateboarding policeman in Canada.

     When he first joined the police force he had an unusual idea. It was an idea to help young people who were getting in trouble because they didn’t know how special they were and how much they had to give to their community and the world. He wanted to help them before they made mistakes that would really regret. The problem was, the young people he wanted to help were afraid of the police and didn’t trust them. So, one day, Mr. Fillion went to a skate park, got out of his police car, and waited calmly as people looked at him. Was he going to arrest someone?  No one knew what he was going to do.  But then, he got out a skate- board and began doing tricks!  

     The city where Mr. Fillion works has 8 skate parks. He began to visit them all. (The police department agreed to his idea.)  At first, Mr. Fillion thought the young people would complain and not want even a skateboarding policeman around them!  But he talked with everyone, he made friends with them, and he listened to them to try to understand the challenges facing them. 

     Then, at some point, Mr. Fillion always tells the young people the story of his own childhood. He stopped studying and stopped going to school. He spent all his time skateboarding and getting into trouble.  But, slowly, one very kind and caring policeman worked hard to try to make him see that what he was doing was a mistake because it was keeping him from having a happy life. So he worked hard to live a better life. He went back to school and studied hard. Finally, after he finished school, he joined the police force. That was when he decided to use the lessons he learned in his life to help other children. 

     For Mr. Fillion, his work as a policeman is a success. Why? Because the children and parents do not see him as a policeman, he said.  They see him as a friend on a skateboard.  They see him as someone who wants to help them.

—Story first discovered on Newsela.

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