Police PV

Fairfax County Police 2nd Lt. Roger Henriquez has been friends with Armstrong Elementary Kindergartener Vivienne (Vivy) since she was 18 months old. Henriquez caught Vivy’s attention while filling in as a crossing guard at the school when they were short-staffed.

“Sometimes police officers are … not going to be the most engaged,” Henriquez said, but he was friendly with Vivy and her older sisters as their mom Mandy walked them to school in 2018.

For a Girl Scout outing, Mandy took her troop and her daughters to the Reston District Station where Henriquez worked at the time. Mandy chatted with Henriquez about seeing him at the crossing a few times and mentioned her youngest daughter Vivy.

“[Vivy] started asking her mom about this particular officer and she wanted to know who it was,” Henriquez recounted. “It wasn’t just [any] police officer. … Once she found out who I was, she kept asking her mom about me.”

Mandy began passing along letters and cards from Vivy to Henriquez at the Reston station. Henriquez invited the whole family to the station and gave them a tour. He remained in contact with the family after that.

Henriquez recognized the chance to have a positive relationship with someone. “I asked her mom if it’s okay [to] take her out for ice cream,” he recalled, and he has taken Vivy and her sisters out for ice cream dates ever since. He was anticipating a Sunday ice cream date when we spoke.

Their friendship continued throughout COVID while Henriquez would occasionally fill in as crossing guard. As Vivy grew up, she invited Henriquez to all of her special events. “I can’t believe how much time has passed,” he said.

Henriquez saw Vivy grow out of her reservations to be more comfortable around him. “It’s like she liked being around me but she wouldn’t say much,” he said laughing. But now she opens up to him about her day.

Part of their relationship is that between a police officer and a community member. “Police officers [are] supposed to be there to protect you and show you what’s wrong and what’s right,” Henriquez said.

He gets to help support and guide Vivy in ways he can appreciate as someone who didn’t always have that. Although, the friendship exists whether or not he’s in uniform. 

“I will do that for any kid [who reaches] out … but it’s about her and that’s what makes her special,” he said.

Henriquez realized how much he needed that friendship with Vivy as he builds a family with his wife. “Even though I don’t have kids, it [gives me] that opportunity,” he said.

On her last birthday, Vivy got her mom to ask Henriquez if he would show up for her first day of kindergarten. “When I saw that much interest on her behalf, I [wanted] to make that day special for her,” he said. So he promised to do one better–to walk her to Armstrong Elementary on the first day this school year.

“I thought of … how I was when it was my first day of school,” he added. “I wanted to return the favor somehow for her so that I knew that she would always remember it.”

He has every intention of being present when Vivy graduates high school. “I hope I’m always a part of her life,” he said.

Henriquez boils it down to seizing the opportunities you get in life, like his opportunity to connect with Vivy and make the community feel like family–thanks to her courage and interest.

“Life is about relationships and what you make out of them. … It’s about the connection of people. … When that opportunity presents itself, everyone should try to … take a chance,” he said.

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