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Police surprise children of fallen officer by walking with them on first day of school

A group of officers from the Amarillo Police Department showed up to support the children of a fallen officer on their first day of school.
/ Source: TODAY

Jackson Scherlen's father wasn't able to bring him to his first day of pre-kindergarten last week, so a group of officers from his dad's family in blue made sure he didn't feel alone.

Nearly two dozen officers from the Amarillo Police Department in Texas surprised Jackson, 4, and his two older siblings from the family of four by escorting them to their first day of school in August, along with mom Jessica Scherlen.

police officers surprising the children of an officer who died by walking them to the first day of school
Members of the Amarillo Police Department in Texas helped Jackson Scherlen, 4, through his first day of school only weeks after the boy's father, Amarillo Officer Justin Scherlen, died during a family trip to New Mexico.Amarillo Independent School District

The gesture came only weeks after their fellow officer, Justin Scherlen, 39, died on a family trip in New Mexico.

"Everybody was having a hard time controlling their emotions that day,'' Officer Jeb Hilton told TODAY. "The family was surprised to see everybody there, and it was just one of those things that really touches your heart."

More than two dozen officers showed up to surprise Justin Scherlen's widow, Jessica Scherlen, and her children to show their support on the first day of school.Amarillo Independent School District
It was an emotional day for nearly two dozen members of the Amarillo Police Department as they help escort the children of their fallen officer to school.Amarillo Independent School District

Justin had suffered extensive injuries in a traffic accident while on the job in September 2015 that required multiple surgeries and physical rehabilitation, according to the Amarillo Globe-News. The cause of his death is undisclosed.

Jackson was so appreciative that he went around and individually hugged the police officers in the hallway of Coronado Elementary School.

Officers who worked closely with Scherlen came up with the idea, showing up earlier in the day to escort the two older siblings and then coming back for Jackson's first day of school.

"That was Jackson's first day of school ever, so we really wanted to be there for him and support him,'' Hilton said.

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The officers wanted the Scherlens to know that they are always there for them whenever they need their family in blue.

"We spend a lot of time with each other on this job and go through a lot of tough situations,'' Hilton said. "We consider ourselves family, and we definitely wanted to step in there and show their family that they'll be taken care of."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.