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Police help make one girls birthday a day to remember
police with zoey
Members of the Turlock Police Department, including Chief Robert Jackson (center), helped grant Zoey Pernsteiners birthday wish of a sticker badge and a song. - photo by Photo Contributed

As far as birthday wishes go Turlock’s Zoey Pernsteiner had a fairly easy one to grant, though it certainly was an unusual request for a newly minted 4-year-old girl.

The young resident wanted a police badge sticker and a police officer to sing her the “Happy Birthday” song and the Turlock Police Department was more than happy to grant her request and then some when they came in on July 15.

“They really made it a special day for her,” said Zoey’s mother Allison Pernsteiner.

Zoey’s story actually begins about a week before during a family trip to Disneyland.

“We were in a store and some hangers fell onto the floor and Zoey picked them up,” explained Pernsteiner. “Someone saw her and gave her an official good citizen badge. She thought it made her a police officer. Through the rest of the day she was telling kids to stop running.”

Skip forward to the next week and Pernsteiner asks her daughter what she wants to do for her birthday and Zoey tells her she wants a police badge sticker and a song.

“I asked her if she really wanted to go down to the police department on her birthday and she said yes, so off we went,” Pernsteiner said.

Pernsteiner relayed her daughter’s request and they were told an officer would try and come down to see her.

“We were waiting for about an hour and I was starting to think it wasn’t going to happen,” Pernsteiner said. “Then all these officers came out.”

Unbeknownst to the Pernsteiner family, the officers had set in motion a plan to make Zoey’s birthday extra special when they learned of her wish.

“Several officers came into my office and said we were going to meet a young lady in the lobby and sing her happy birthday,” said Turlock Police Chief Robert Jackson. “It was great to see that the officers were so passionate about meeting Zoey and helping her with her birthday wish.”

But is a birthday surprise really complete without a present and a card? Officers Nate Urban and Jordan Pannela didn’t think so and they went out and purchased a Tinkerbell birthday card and several gifts for the young girl, including a Snow White Barbie and a toy police car.

“They did this on their own and out of the goodness in their hearts,” Jackson said. “Nate was the same officer that helped the lady with her bus ticket a few weeks ago.”

“When they came out and they had all these gifts for her and a birthday card they had all signed, she was so happy,” Pernsteiner said. “It just took it to the next level. She hasn’t stopped talking about it.”

Even with the gifts, Zoey’s favorite item was her police badge sticker, which in her mind makes her an official police officer and ready to join them in “catching the bad guys.” She did forget to mention one talent she has that could prove useful to the department one day.

“She wanted to tell them she can do back flips underwater,” Pernsteiner said.

“We hope that Zoey will remember her visit at the police department for a long time,” Jackson said. “I am very proud of our officers and all of our staff members here at the Police Department.  They truly enjoy making Turlock a better place and are passionate about taking care of our citizens.”