POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1022864

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Page 48 of 136

46 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2018 P hoenix Crimes Against Children detective Sean Reavie is a self-described comic book "nerd." And in recent years, the two-time Arizona Police Officer of the Year has channeled his love of superheroes to help the city's most needful kids, the ones who are physically or sexually abused and the ones who are neglected. Reavie is the creator and organizer of a charitable effort called Superhero September (www.facebook.com/superheroseptember/), which raises money to provide toys and apparel as well as other comforts for the children his detective unit is tasked with pro- tecting. e program is named for the types of toys it provides. Superhero September was inspired by wall art of Batman and the colorful villains that plague Gotham City that Reavie saw back in 2015. at art started him thinking about the fact that many superheroes have tragic back stories of childhood trauma, and their stories are ultimately about rising above that trauma to become heroes. Batman's parents were killed in front of him when he was a boy. Spiderman is an orphan who saw his beloved Uncle Ben murdered by a robber. inking about that, Reavie decided to in- spire the kids coming to the Child Advocacy Center, where he works, to see themselves as superheroes. "e little kids who came here were sad and afraid and they would leave here sad and afraid," Reavie says. And he wanted to change that. With cooperation from Childhelp Children's Center of Arizona, a charity that also operates from the Child Advocacy Center, Reavie set about adding some comic book touches to the facility. At first his plan consisted of decorating the walls of the playroom with superhero art. en he decided to take the next step. He had the magazine racks filled with comic books. After that he got a bunch of capes and masks so that the kids could play superhero. Which led to giving the kids superhero stuff they could take with them when they left the center. Reavie says he put out a request to fellow officers for kid-size superhero T-shirts and superhero action figures. "What I wanted was 100 T-shirts and action figures. I shared what I was doing with my police friends and pretty soon I had a desk full of the stuff," Reavie says. All of this effort led to the first Superhero September four years ago. at was a fairly low-key event. e public wasn't invited, just first responders. But some of those first responders dressed up like comic book heroes, which sparked the interest of Phoenix's TV3 news. e TV3 story led to huge growth of the event. Local store managers donated gifts cards, the public got involved, and there was more press. Last year Superhero Septem- ber raised $22,000. is year Reavie and the other volunteers working to produce Superhero September: e Fantastic Fourth are planning to raise $50,000 in cash and products. Reavie says this year's effort includes 20 fundraisers, nine events, and a big celebration Sept. 8 featuring 45 hobbyist costume players from AZ Heroes United in full superhero gear, an Infinity Stone scavenger hunt presided over by anos (villain of the Marvel blockbuster movie PHOTOS: COURTESY SEAN REAVIE Comic book costume players interact with the public at last year's Superhero September event. (No children from the Child Advocacy Center are pictured.) A Phoenix detective's charity helps abused and neglected kids see themselves as something more than victims.

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