When 3-year-old Addilyn Gregg was told to dress like someone in her community for her preschool Heroes Day, she wanted to honor her dad.
Addilyn wore a black shirt with her police badge, green pants and black boots. Her father, Ryan Gregg, works for the Florence Regional Airport Public Safety Department in South Carolina as a police officer. He also wears green pants, a black shirt and boots, but also a safety vest for protection to work.
The pair posed for a photo before Addilyn’s parents dropped her off to celebrate Community Heroes Day at Precious One Learning Center in Florence for Homecoming Week Tuesday.
A daddy’s girl, Addilyn proudly sported the mini replicate of her father’s police uniform at school.
Online users were naturally captured by Addilyn’s tribute to her father.
“She’s adorable,” wrote one user with a heart emoji.
“Awww, such a sweetie pie and daddy’s girl…I love it!” added another.
One user took the opportunity to get on their soapbox.
“This pic made me want to hop on my soapbox for a second: This is awesome to see and there is nothing wrong with being a police officer when you actually protect and serve your community. The problem is we have no representation doing the protecting, just power tripping MAGA.
I want to see more instances of Black police officers being celebrated and shown as friendly faces you can trust and aspire to be like.”
The sentiment isn’t far fetched. According to ABC’s May 2021 analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s occupation reporting data, the share of police officers who are white is larger than the share of residents who are white in 99 of the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.
Some experts say hiring more Black and minority law enforcement could reduce police abuse. A 2021 study published in the journal Science found that Black officers use force less frequently than white officers, especially against Black people.
The proportion of Black police officers in the nation has increased over the last two decades. Still, police agencies in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia saw a drop in Black officers after the hiring spike in the 80s and 90s. Bureau of Justice data shows the share of Black officers in the nation was 11.4 percent in 2016, according to the most recent data available.
However, some civil rights activists argue that increasing diversity alone is not the end-all solution to fixing a “deeper issue” in law enforcement.