Badge of Honor

Houston 10-year-old battling terminal cancer is sworn in as an honorary Klein ISD police officer

Klein ISD Superintendent Dr. Jenny McGown congratulates young DJ Daniel on his accomplishment to being sworn in as an honorary Klein ISD police officer.

Samantha Nodine, Editor-in-Chief


At the Klein ISD Police Department’s most recent swearing in ceremony, they excitedly awaited the guest of honor as they filled the room with decorations and food, prepared a new uniform, and engraved a shiny new badge with the name of their new police officer, Devarjaye “DJ” Daniel. 

As it turned out, the hero that they were waiting for was even more heroic than expected – he balances the title of an honorary Klein ISD police officer, the son of a single father, and a 10 year old battling terminal cancer.

Daniel, who was diagnosed with brain and spinal cord cancer almost four years ago, was originally told that he would have only four months to live, and embarked on a mission to pursue his dream to be a police officer. A few months back, he began his ambitious quest to be sworn in by 100 police agencies, and has now been sworn in by over 230 across Texas, including the Klein ISD Police Department in a ceremony on Jan. 26.

“The actual day of the ceremony, we had DJ and his father come out. Prior to that, we spent several weeks getting ready to have the ceremony, which included making sure that the state representative, Sam Harless, was there, that judge Lincoln Goodwin was there, judge Larissa Cordova, both of our justices of peace, as well as Dr. Jenny McGown, our superintendent. We wanted to make it as big of a production as we could for him, being that he is on his quest to get to 100 [agencies to swear him in],” Klein ISD Police Chief David Kimberly said.

When Kimberly heard about Daniel’s quest to get to 100 ceremonies on the news, he immediately went to work with Klein ISD police department to get involved.

“I was standing in my kitchen, and I saw a news story about his plight to get to 100 [agencies],” Kimberly said. “As funny as it was, I was standing there and shared with my wife, and said ‘we’re gonna make this happen’. Literally, within the next two hours, I had five text messages from our officers saying ‘Chief, how can we do this? How can we get involved? Is this something that we can do?’. So, for me, it was a huge validation that at the heart of the Klein ISD police department, so many people saw the same thing and had the same idea.”

Upon meeting Daniel, Kimberly and the rest of the police department excitedly waited for his arrival after weeks of preparation.

“DJ is full of energy and full of life,” Kimberly said. “He is an amazing young man, and he had a lot of fun. He worked the room. We brought him up front and I had Judge Goodwin administer the oath of office for him.”

Daniel’s family also created a GoFundMe page to raise money for medical bills. His idea was originally sparked by 7-year-old Abigail Arias, who lived with a rare type of kidney cancer and was sworn in as an honorary Freeport police officer. She died in 2019, but her legacy continued with Daniel, turning into something even more colossal.

“This is something bigger than any one of us,” Kimberly said. “We didn’t do this for recognition, we did this for a young man who is suffering with terminal cancer to help him reach his goal. Plain and simple.”

Daniel’s everlasting positivity has shown through in each of the 230 ceremonies that he has attended, and he filled the room with laughter at his Klein ISD PD swearing in ceremony.

“Childhood cancer is sad. There is nothing about it that is not sad. I say that, but DJ actually puts a positive face on it,” Kimberly said.

Kimberly, who officially swore him in as an honorary Klein ISD police officer, connects the inspiration and positivity that Daniel emits to the mission of the Klein ISD police department as he goes on his quest to raise awareness and make a difference in his community.

“To have such a positive outlook and how that young man lights up a room is pretty impressive,” Kimberly said. “It just reminds me of why we’re here. The mission of the Klein ISD police department is to foster strong relationships with students, to be that bridge to make a difference.”