Newport News mom records officer playing with neighborhood kids: ‘It was beautiful to see’

Posted at 8:31 PM, May 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-12 20:31:29-04

Newport News, Va. - It's the sound of the infectious laughs heard on video of children playing with a Newport News police officer that has made more 130,000 people watching it online.

Mom Jessica McGlone recorded the video Sunday afternoon as she says the moment brought her pure joy.

"That moment is something they will never forget," McGlone told us. "We've seen so much negativity this pasty year and just to see something positive and a change, that's why I wanted to record it. It was just so beautiful to see."

The rookie cop seen in the patrol car, Zachary Lyons, had no idea it would reach so far.

"It's pretty crazy," Officer Lyons said. "But I think it's cool. I think it's what we need right now. Police sort of have a bad rap, but we are all good people. There may be a small percentage that is not good cops, but it's up to the other officers that see that to look at them and do something about it."

Lyons, a former Portsmouth firefighter, became a Newport News police officer 10 months ago. He says he's been patrolling the streets on his own for about five weeks. He says he responded to the Wendwood Square Apartments in Newport News in reference to a domestic call, then spent the next 30 minutes playing basketball and tag with the children.

"There are a lot of neighborhoods you go to and you wave to people and they don't even wave back," he says. "All you can do is stay positive and hopefully one day, maybe we can mend the relationship. But I think we have to get out and talk to the people and let them know we are here to help and not put anyone in jail."

McGlone agrees. As an African American mom, she says that trust needs to built again. Not only in Newport News, but across the entire nation.

"I feel like a lot of us are scared of what's going on in the media," she said. "I feel like police have been depicted as, 'You are going to get shot' or 'You are going to get beaten' and to see them actually engaging with children is peaceful."

Officer Lyons says with every handshake and every bear hug, it's building trust one child at a time.

"It gives them a role model," Lyons said. "If they know you by Zach and not by Officer Lyons, they will come to you with problems and come to you when they need something and then you should go back to them with a solution."