PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) — Kinley Goertler fell in love with the police officer costume immediately.
The 4-year-old Camas girl passed a rack of pink costumes at Costco this weekend and zeroed in on the police officer jumpsuit, which came complete with a whistle, plastic handcuffs and badge.
Kinley’s dad is preparing for a career in law enforcement and she wants to be a police officer for Halloween.
But her mom, Chelsy Goertler, noticed Kinley’s face fell when as she put costume in the shopping cart.
“”She said, ‘Mom, is this only for boys?’ I said, ‘Why would you ask that?’ She said, ‘There’s a boy on it, not a girl.’ I was like, ‘Kinley, girls can be cops too,” said Goertler. “She was still excited, but she was kind of down about it.”
Goertler bought the costume, then posted about her daughter’s reaction on Facebook.
Officer Raelynn McKay with the Portland Police Bureau, one of Goertler’s Facebook friends, saw the post and decided to write a note to the little girl.
She grabbed officers Nicole Miller and Rashida Saunders and posed for a photo holding the sign reading, “Kinley, girl cops are awesome!”
“I was just hoping it would make Kinley feel good,” said McKay, who is also the mother of a four-year-old girl. “Just let her know it’s cool to be a police officer, even if you’re a girl. You can do whatever you want, regardless of gender.”
As of March, 146 women were PPB officers, making up 15.8 percent of the department’s sworn officers.
“It’s not widely advertised that there are a lot of women out here but there are,” said Miller. “It’s kind of cool to be out here and want to be here.”
Their picture brought tears to Goertler’s eyes.
“We’re friends on Facebook but she doesn’t know Kinley,” said Goertler. “And I’m sure there’s plenty of 4-year-olds with first-world problems about their costumes but it was so nice they took the time to do that.”
The picture also cheered Kinley up immediately.
“She was just ecstatic about it,” said Goertler. “Now she can’t wait. She doesn’t even care there was a boy anymore.”
Kinley has big plans for Halloween. She plans to make her dad dress up as a “bad guy.”
“I’m going to chase to him,” she said.