8-year-old aims to visit every Bay State police station

Dakota Matthews, at left, with her mother, Cherie Boisvert, and Newbury Police Chief Michael Reilly.DAVE ROGERS/Staff photo

NEWBURY – Sixty-three down and roughly 288 police stations left.

That's the goal for 8-year-old Plainville resident Dakota Matthews, who aims to visit every police station in Massachusetts before she turns 13. 

On Tuesday, Dakota and her mother, Cherie Boisvert, stopped by the Newbury police station and received a quick tour from Chief Michael Reilly and took a ride in the department's all-terrain vehicle – called the Argo – with Deputy Chief John Lucey Jr. 

Dakota, who said she would like to become a police officer, got the idea about visiting every police station after she suffered a medical emergency at age 4 and was saved by officers. 

Following her stop in Newbury, Dakota and her mother said they were headed to West Newbury, followed by the Groveland and Georgetown police stations. 

"It's intense, she's on a mission. There's no stopping her," Boisvert said. 

There was no stopping Dakota from smiling, either, as she high-fived Reilly and then watched as Lucey drove the Argo in front of the station. 

"Your chariot, madame," Lucey said. 

Dakota and Lucey spun around the adjacent fire station before buzzing up the small incline off Morgan Avenue and into the police station parking lot. 

Dakota's police station tour is being documented on her Facebook page, "She Loves Police," and features photos from the dozens of departments already visited. 

A day earlier, she stopped by the Amesbury police station, where she posed with Officer John Lannon and public safety clerk Laura Kilgour for a photo inside the department's dispatch center. 

Hours earlier, Dakota was greeted by officers from 16 departments as she and her mother pulled into the parking lot of Adamson Industries Corp. in Haverhill.

The 16 departments were Amesbury, Andover, Boxford, Burlington, Georgetown, Groveland, Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, North Andover, Rowley, Salisbury, Cambridge, Middleton, Wilmington and the Essex County Sheriff's Department.

Among the officers assembled was Rowley Police Chief Scott Dumas, who handed Dakota three patches and a challenge coin before the girl moved on to the next officer.

"I think it's great what she's doing," Dumas said. "For a young child to take the initiative to spread goodwill ... it's a great message."

Staff writer Mike LaBella contributed to this report. 

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached by email at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter@drogers41008.