Tyler Pappas grew up admiring his grandfather’s career in law enforcement and consumed his stories of comradery and bravery.
“It kind of stuck with me,” he said.
Pappas, now 26 years old, recently concluded his first year as an officer with the Maricopa Police Department.
His rookie year on the force has not gone without notice. In fact, it’s being celebrated.
Pappas was one of 11 law enforcement personnel recognized by the Pinal County Attorney’s Office April 10 at the National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Law Enforcement Appreciation event.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 8-14.
“He definitely has an extra something special,” said Mary Witkofski, MPD Community Programs Manager.
Witkofski presented an award to Pappas for his compassionate behavior toward crime victims.
Pappas regularly stops by MPD’s victim services unit to fill a bag with stuffed animals and care items for adolescent crime victims, Witkofski told a room filled with county officers, prosecutors and Sheriff Mark Lamb.
The acts of kindness are something Pappas learned from a Chandler Police officer who comforted him as a child when he was exposed to his father’s alleged abusive behavior toward his mother.
“Seeing that growing up gives me an edge and an insight on how to deal with other people that have been in my shoes,” Pappas said after the ceremony.
The officer who helped Pappas as a child left a lasting impression.
“(Pappas) is paying the acts forward from what he received as a child, and that’s so inspirational,” Witkofski said.
The young lawman is already excelling in his career in ways beyond his recent accolade.
Pappas said he recently made MPD’s Special Response Team.
He encourages crime victims who may be weary of law enforcement to give officers a chance.
“Reach out to us and let us show our true heart and our true side,” Pappas said. “Yes, we wear the uniform, but we’re human as well. We all go through stuff in life.”