West Warwick boy patrols neighborhood on two wheels
WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Jenson Smigel, 12, calls himself a state trooper in training, patrolling his West Warwick community every day on his bike.
Smigel’s wanted to be a police officer from a young age, and after watching shows like “Cops” and “Live PD,” he was inspired to take action. But for now, instead of a patrol car, he cruises the neighborhood on two wheels, keeping his community safe, one ticket at a time.
“I get a lot of waves and hellos when I’m out,” he said.
With his radar gun in hand, handcuffs on his hip, and his state trooper hat on his head, Smigel makes sure everyone in the Greenwich Estates community is following the rules of the road.
“The neighborhood accepts him, they appreciate him,” Smigel’s mom Kerri Batgate said. “There’s no doubt in my mind, or the police officers he’s met, [they all] know he’s going to be a state trooper.”
When he’s riding his bike around the complex, Smigel makes sure no one is speeding or illegally parked. If they are, he’ll make sure to leave them a ticket.
But for Batgate, there was a time she wasn’t sure his dream to become a police officer could come true, as Jenson has a mild form of autism.
“One of the concerns, when he was younger in school, was his confidence,” Batgate said. “And that he wouldn’t speak out and wouldn’t talk for himself.”
But in the past year since Smigel put on the uniform, Batgate said his personality is night and day, and that he has flourished and become more confident both on his bike and in day-to-day life.
“He understands what it means to be a good citizen and what it’s like to be kind,” she said. “He also knows what it’s like to break the law and he does not approve.”
Smigel’s passion has also not gone unnoticed, the West Warwick Police Department is well aware of his passion. And while his mom Batgate said they would like to have him join their police force one day, the 12-year-old’s mind is set on being a Rhode Island State Police officer, because he has loved the uniform since the first time he saw it.