Girl on a mission to visit state's police departments stops by Dartmouth

By Douglas McCulloch | Mar 30, 2018
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Dakota Matthews and her friend Jordyn pose in front of the Dartmouth Police Department's sign.

The Dartmouth Police Department hosted a special surprise visitor at its station on March 30: Dakota Matthews.

The 8-year-old Plainville girl is on a mission to visit every police department in Massachusetts by her 13th birthday, and made Dartmouth her 85th visit out of 351.

Matthews’ mission began four years ago. She had fallen and suffered a seizure, and came to surrounded by police officers caring for her before an ambulance arrived. Although it was a scary moment for her, it started her passion for police.

She’s toured police departments of all sizes, from one-room offices to large headquarters buildings in big cities. She’s seen everything from jail cells to the pilot’s seat of a state police helicopter.

The coolest thing she’s seen so far? A bit hard to say, she said.

“I love all the things,” Matthews said.

She did identify a large police S.W.A.T. helmet she got to try on at a previous visit.

During her visit, Dartmouth Police Capt. James Storey and Officer Paul Arruda gave Matthews and her friend Jordyn a tour of the station, including the dispatch center, booking room, and the chief’s and sergeant’s offices. The two also got to sit in a police car.

She had her fingerprints taken using the department’s digital fingerprinting system — her first time not using the more traditional ink-based system.

Officers had a special gift for her — an assortment of Dartmouth Police Department swag — but Matthews brought her own treats too, and gave Storey some Girl Scout cookies.

“She had the idea to give cookies to all of the police departments, but money-wise...” said her mom, Cherie Boisvert. “We put it on our Facebook page and people have been donating money.”

Matthews plans to incorporate some of her gifts into a map of her travels. At home, she has a map of the state, and places the pins of each police department she visits along the borders.

Her visit to Dartmouth was one of several South Coast stops on her day off from school. To track Matthews’ progress, visit her Facebook page, Facebook.com/shelovespolice.

The girls hand Capt. James Storey Girl Scout cookies before beginning the tour. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Dispatcher Joann Ashworth poses with Dakota and Jordyn after showing the pair the dispatch center. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
The girls learn the ins and outs of a Dartmouth police cruiser from the driver's seat... (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
... and the back seats. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Dakota wears a police badge custom-made for her by the same company that makes badges for most of the state's police departments. It reads "Dakota. She loves police. Spreading good. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Officer Paul Arruda helps Dakota take her fingerprints electronically. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
The girls pose for a photo with Officer Paul Arruda. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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