Lakewood police chief grants third grader's chalk art wish

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - Kids armed with chalk made their mark all over the Lakewood Police Department's concrete entry, and some officers got in on the action too.

It all started with Sterling Norris, an 8 year old who was battling boredom at recess at Custer Elementary. The third grader wanted to draw chalk art on school grounds, and while her teachers and principal liked the idea, the district's maintenance team and Clover Park school board said no.

"I wanted to do chalk to make sidewalks beautiful," said Norris.

Lakewood's police chief Brett Farrar was in Las Vegas, Nevada paying his respects to officers gunned down in a pizza parlor when he read about the chalk flap. Farrar was already remembering how the community helped his department heal following a Lakewood shooting that left four officers dead, and thought he could give back.

"I just thought, 'Well, I can do it. I'm the police chief. I've got a spot, and they want to do it. We'll get it done," Farrar said.

The Lakewood Police Department reached out to Norris's family to set up a chalk art opportunity at the police station. Farrar believes it's a way for kids to connect with their community.

The 8-year-old chalk artist of the hour said she used to feel different about police, but had a change of heart after they drew together.

"At first they didn't look so cool on T.V., and then when I saw them in real life they look really cool," said Norris.

Norris presented her case to the school board, but school let out for summer before they took a vote. Norris's mother Deidre said school board members consider chalk art graffiti, and that it would encourage more graffiti.

To that, Chief Farrar said, "If daisies and kitties pop up around the city, I guess you can blame me."