AUSTIN (KXAN) — A 10-year-old girl from East Texas was honored at the state Capitol on Monday for helping inspire police officers around the country, sending them cards thanking them for their service. Often referring to officers as her “brothers in blue,” Savannah Solis of Tyler said she wanted to do something special after New York City Police Department Detectives Wenjin Liu and Rafael Ramos were killed while sitting in their patrol car on Dec. 20, 2014.
“My goal is to tell as many police officers as I can that I love them,” Solis said.
So far, she has written more than 700 cards, sending 200 of those to New York City. She also baked cupcakes, giving them to officers in her hometown of Tyler. Her visit to the Austin Police Department in January broughtsome officers to tears.
“The words she spoke from her heart touched every single officer,” Assistant Chief Jessica Robledo told us on Jan. 17.
Savannah meets Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
She visited the 41st Precinct in Brooklyn, where Detectives Liu and Ramos worked, to deliver cards two months after they were killed.
“It’s amazing to know how a 10-year-old girl from over a thousand miles away has made such an impact on our lives,” NYPD Officer Victor Cabral said.
At every visit, Solis collects autographs of officers. So far, she has more than 1,400. Her mother told KXAN in January that Savannah looks up to law enforcement like other children may look up to celebrities.
Her state representative from Tyler, Matt Schaefer, presented her Monday with a flag flown over the state Capitol to show his appreciation, saying her trips inspired him.
“What she has done has touched a lot of hearts and it certainly touched mine,” Schaefer said.
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo spoke of recent events putting some members of the public at odds with police officers, such as the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City. Acevedo showed his gratitude for sharing a message of goodness about police officers. He presented Solis a Chief’s Challenge Coin, an award typically reserved for sworn officers and “very rarely” given to members of the public.
Savannah hopes to one day work as a K-9 officer, carrying on the mission to protect others. In January, Austin police said they would be honored to have her on their force.