BELOIT - The Beloit Police Department welcomed its newest officer following a special ceremony held Thursday evening at City Hall.
Kolton Witte, 15, who has battled severe seizures his entire life, was surprised by being named an honorary officer by Police Chief David Zibolski, with Make-A-Wish Wisconsin Regional Director Madison Hildebrandt then telling the Witte family of a trip to Los Angeles on June 3.
While there, Kolton will train with the Los Angeles Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team. Kolton was told of the trip before a standing-room-only crowd at the Beloit City Hall Forum, with a special video made by LAPD tactical team officers inviting Kolton to LA for training. He's always wanted to be a police officer and partner with his dad, Kevin Witte, who serves as a patrol officer at BPD with past experience on the department's tactical team.
"Never give up your dream," Zibolski told Kolton.
On Thursday, Kolton and his dad became honorary partners and will travel to LA with mom Ashley Witte and sister Alexa Witte for an all inclusive trip that includes a visit to Universal Studios and a shopping spree on top of the special police training.
Kolton said he's looking forward most to learning about the LAPD's SWAT team and getting a chance to try out some tactical equipment.
"I thought it was all for my dad, and it was pretty much a surprise," he said. "It will be pretty cool and I look forward to seeing what happens in LA, seeing what they do and what's different with their training and SWAT."
For Ashley Witte, who was the mastermind behind keeping the secret and organizing the event, she knows how important Kolton's dream of being an officer is to him.
"This year he will be 16 and it's a big deal because driving is so important to him, and it's most likely not going to be possible for him to get his license, so I started thinking about a wish and would he qualify. A month later they contacted us about granting this wish," she said.
Kevin Witte said Thursday's ceremony was special to him and his family.
"It feels great and it's hard to deal with because he might not be able to do that in the future," Kevin Witte said of knowing Kolton's dream of being an officer. "You want your kid to meet his goals and for him to do what he wants in life, and it will be difficult for him to do that. We thought this would help show him what's out there and the possibilities that are out there."
Kolton recently underwent brain surgery and has been seizure free for 63 days.
"Kolton has such determination and perseverance and he doesn't give up," Zibolski said. "Kolton really wants to be a law enforcement officer and he wants to be a partner with his dad Kevin. That's an awesome goal."