Third-grader is Chief for a Day

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office 2017 Chief for a Day Jesse Osorio and his family with Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal after the Chief for a Day ceremony in Wenatchee’s Memorial Park. Clockwise from top left, are Gjesdal, Rosalino, Olivia, Jennifer, Jamileth, Jasmine and Jesse. (Empire Press photo/Karen Larsen)


By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

Rock Island third-grader Jesse Osorio had a tall order April 27, serving as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Chief for a Day with Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal.

Area law enforcement agencies — including Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee Police Departments, the state Fish and Wildlife Department and the Washington State Patrol — each name a young Chief for a Day in their areas of jurisdiction. Each of the chiefs is a child who is standing up to unusual challenges in life, which could include developmental disabilities, life threatening health conditions, or setbacks such as a serious accident.

To begin the day, the chiefs were taken to Wal-Mart in Wenatchee to purchase gifts and then they took part in a law enforcement processional, complete with flashing lights and sirens led by the State Patrol motor team, to Memorial Park. There they were sworn into their duties for the day in a ceremony on the stage. The ceremony included an honor guard presentation of colors, a helicopter flyover, an introduction of each child by the chief of the department he or she is representing and a swearing-in ceremony.

Following the ceremony, the children were treated to lunch at the Wenatchee Public Library.

“The kids are just lavished with real positive attention,” Gjesdal said of the event, which is now in its 15th year.

On stage, each young chief was asked about his or her plans for the first day on the job. Osorio said that he was going to purchase new tires for the patrol cars.

Gjesdal was tickled about this practical request and said that since the department had just finished a pursuit driving exercise, the tires will be welcome. He added that he may also want to consider brakes and transmission, and the need for amending the county budget to include these items. The Douglas County commissioners were also in attendance and reacted positively to the request from the day’s department head.

Osorio said that he liked being up on the stage and honking the horn in the patrol car. He also was proud in his uniform and wasn’t going to consider taking off his hat for a photo.

Gjesdal said that he was especially moved by the ceremony this year. One thing he has noticed year-after-year is that no matter what the weather has been like in the morning, it seems to clear up for the ceremony at noon.

“I feel like it is a blessed event,” Gjesdal said, adding that he believes God knows how important it is for the families and the children.

Osorio was accompanied by his father Rosalino, his mother Olivia, his older sister Jennifer and younger sisters Jasmine and Jamileth. Classmates also attended.

“I’m very happy,” Rosalino Osorio said.

“It’s a very special day,” Olivia Osorio added.

Gjesdal commented that when he went to visit the family the day before the event even the little girls came to shake his hand and he was impressed by a courteous confidence that seemed to characterize the whole family.

“They’ve got some good kiddos,” Gjesdal said.