OF­FI­CER JOR­DAN SAVES THE DAY

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page - By John Brewer jbrewer@onei­dadis­patch.com @Dis­patchBrewer on Twit­ter

Oneida has its very own su­per­hero.

Lit­tle more than three hours af­ter he was sworn into duty, Oneida City Po­lice Of­fi­cer Jor- dan Barah­meh and his part­ner Sgt. Matt Colella re­sponded to a call of ci­ti­zens be­ing held hostage at the Kal­let The­ater. When the OPD duo ar­rived on scene, a masked vil­lain was hold­ing Tuesday’s Oneida Ro­tary meet­ing cap­tive, threat­en­ing the Ro­tar­i­ans with dy- na­mite. Though the timer on the dy­na­mite left the pair of po­lice of­fi­cers with less than two min­utes to defuse the ex­plo­sives, Of­fi­cer Barah­meh and his part­ner re­mained calm un­der pres­sure. Af­ter back­ing the vil­lain into a cor­ner, Barah­meh out­smarted the ne’er-do- well, suc­cess­fully dif­fus­ing the bomb and res­cu­ing the hostages.

Ex­it­ing the Kal­let, Of­fi­cer Barah­meh was met by scores of peo­ple cheer­ing his name and cel­e­brat­ing his res­cue of dozens of Oneida ci­ti­zens, and

the cheer­ing only grew louder as the OPD’s lat­est re­cruit pa­raded the vil­lain down Main Street.

Of­fi­cer Barah­meh saved the day.

In front of fami ly, friends, fel­low po­lice, and the scores of com­mu­nity mem­bers lin­ing the street, 13-year-old Of­fi­cer Barah­meh’s Make-A-Wish came true.

Jor­dan has Duchenne mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy, one of 40 dif­fer­ent types of neuro- mus­cu­lar dis­or­ders iden­ti­fied as mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy. Duchenne is as­so­ci­ated with weak­ened leg mus­cles and pelvic area, in ad­di­tion to an over­all loss of mus­cle, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tutes for Health, a fed­er­ally ad­min­is­tered health data­base. Mostly af­fect­ing boys, Duchenne typ­i­cally ne­ces­si­tates the use of leg braces or wheel­chairs to im­prove mo­bil­ity and may lead to a short­ened life span.

And while some Make-A-Wish chil­dren wish for a trip to Dis­ney World or to meet their fa­vorite ath­lete, Jor­dan wished to serve as a mem­ber of the Oneida City Po­lice Depart­ment.

“I was taken back,” Colella said of Jor­dan’s wish, adding that even be­fore the wish event, Jor­dan would fre­quently pass by the precinct, al­ways ready with a wave for the of­fi­cers. “It was pretty hum­bling. It’s in­spir­ing that he chose to ride with us.”

In ad­di­tion to stop­ping the bomb threat at the Kal­let, Jor­dan and Colella tick­eted a Wil­ber-Duck em­ployee with a lead foot and a Corvette thanks to a speed trap set up on Far­rier Av­enue. Jor­dan also had the op­por­tu­nity to ar­raign his cap­tured vil­lain in front of Oneida City Court Judge An­thony Ep­polito, trans­port him to the Madi­son County Jail, and tour the E-911 cen­ter at the county fa­cil­ity.

“He en­joyed ev­ery minute. He was pretty re­served at first, but came out of his shell as the day went on. He was very in­trigued with the com­puter sys­tem in the squad car,” Colella said. “He started bark­ing or­ders and was di­rect with his com­mands.”

Jor­dan’s part­ner was not the only one with high praise for the 13-year-old’s per­for­mance.

“He did awesome,” said act­ing OPD Po­lice Chief Paul Thomp­son. “These were all things on Jor­dan’s list. We re­ally crafted this day around what Jor­dan wanted to do.”

For­tu­nately for Thomp­son, the depart­ment’s new­est star has no in­cli­na­tion for the ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties of chief.

“Pa­trol­man,” Jor­dan said of which law en­force­ment po­si­tion - chief, in­ves­ti­ga­tor, or pa­trol­man - he would want most.

In a day filled with po­lice work, and even a cof­fee break with his fel­low law en­force­ment at Dunkin’ Donuts, Jor­dan said his fa­vorite part of the day was catch­ing the vil­lain.

“He said he was not go­ing to be a bad guy any­more,” the young­ster said of the im­pres­sion he made on his bad guy.

That bad guy, comic book shop owner Jeff Watkins, also en­joyed a first on Tuesday as he donned a black cape and mask for his first ever role as a vil­lain.

“I think a young man who de­fies his dis­abil­ity to work with Oneida’s finest, that’s a real hero, so I jumped at the chance to be here to­day,” Watkins said. “This was more than enough rea­son to suit up.”

In ad­di­tion to the OPD, Watkins, Wil­ber- Duck, Dunkin’ Donuts, Origlio’s Wagon Wheel, the Greater Oneida Cham­ber of Com­merce, Oneida City Hall, Madi­son County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, the Madi­son County District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice, and Madi­son County E-911 all co­or­di­nated with CNY Make-A-Wish to make Jor­dan’s ex­pe­ri­ence truly one- of-akind.

“I’m thank­ful to ev­ery­one,” said Jor­dan’s fa­ther Wael. “I’m grate­ful for what they have done. What sur­prised me the most was the love from the com­mu­nity and how ev­ery­one came to­gether to make a small wish so big. It’s over­whelm­ing.”

For Jor­dan’s mother Olga, see­ing her son suited up in an OPD uni­form was a spe­cial mo­ment.

“It’s amaz­ing,” she said. “I’m so proud of him.”

Olga was also blown away by the amount of time and ef­fort the OPD put into Jor­dan’s wish.

“Thank you to all of them for sup­port­ing Jor­dan and mak­ing his wish come true,” she said.

Among those lin­ing Main Street to cheer Jor­dan on as he led his vil­lain back to the sta­tion was for­mer teacher Kim­berly Handzel, who trav­elled from New Hart­ford to cheer on her pupil.

“I think it’s great and it shows com­mu­nity sup­port for peo­ple to come out and cheer him on. He is funny, he’s kind, and he is very car­ing. He loves to make peo­ple laugh,” Handzel said, be­fore adding, “His fa­vorite thing to do last year was hand out tick­ets in class.”

Oneida City Mayor Leo Matzke said the day was “in­dica­tive of how our com­mu­nity ral­lies around peo­ple who need to have that hap­pen.”

Also in the crowd was for­mer class­mate Miles Lea­hey and his mother Amy. Miles, who also has mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy, be­lieves events like Tuesday’s wish should hap­pen more of ten and felt “very good” about sup­port ing his good friend.

“He made a video yes­ter­day and said, ‘Con­grat­u­la­tions, Jor­dan. I miss you,’” Amy said.

Fol­low­ing the end of his shift, Jor­dan and his fam­ily cel­e­brated at Origlio’s with mem­bers of the OPD.

“We couldn’t have asked for bet­ter guys,” Make-a-- Wish CNY pro­gram ser­vices manager Heidi Robin­son said of the OPD force, sev­eral of whom were there on their own time to fa­cil­i­tate Jor­dan’s day. “They helped us mag­nify the wish.”

The CNY Make-a-Wish Chap­ter was es­tab­lished in 1985 and cov­ers a 15 county range. Since its in­cep­tion, the chap­ter has helped make more than 1,700 wishes come true for chil­dren through­out the re­gion, and cur­rently, there is a pipe­line of some 120 wishes said Pres­i­dent and CEO Diane Kup­per­man. Fit­tingly, the en­tire Make- a-Wish pro­gram be­gan in 1980 in Arizona when a young boy wanted to be a po­lice of­fi­cer for a day.

Tuesday, that tra­di­tion con­tin­ued in Oneida as Jor­dan’s wish came true, some­thing nei­ther Jor­dan and his fam­ily nor the Oneida City Po­lice will likely for­get.

Oneida City Po­lice Of­fi­cer Jor­dan Barah­meh, front left, and his part­ner Sgt. Matt Colella, back left, es­cort the crim­i­nal re­spon­si­ble for hold­ing the Oneida Ro­tary Club hostage as part of the Make-A-Wish CNY pro­gram.

Make-A-Wish re­cip­i­ent Jor­dan Barah­meh signs his name to be­come an honorary Oneida City Po­lice of­fi­cer on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. With him is Oneida City Clerk Sue Pul­v­er­enti.

PHOTOS BY JOHN BREWER — ONEIDA DAILY DIS­PATCH

Make-a-Wish CNY re­cip­i­ent Jor­dan Barah­meh ra­dios in to com­mand af­ter pulling over a speed­ing Corvette on Far­rier Av­enue in the City of Oneida.

Of­fi­cer Jor­dan Barah­meh and his part­ner Sgt. Matt Colella act quickly to defuse the dy­na­mite keep­ing Oneida Ro­tar­i­ans hostage as part of Farah­meh’s wish granted by the OPD and Make-a-Wish CNY.

CNY Make-a-Wish re­cip­i­ent Jor­dan Barah­meh cuffs his cul­prit.

PHOTOS BY JOHN BREWER — ONEIDA DAILY DIS­PATCH

Oneida City Po­lice Of­fi­cer and Make-A-Wish re­cip­i­ent Jor­dan Barah­meh brings his crim­i­nal, por­trayed by ac­tor Jeff Watkins, be­fore Oneida City Judge An­thony Ep­polito.

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