HONOR THE BADGE: Wells Twp. Police Captain Sean Norman

Fifteen years ago, Wells Township Police Captian Sean Norman had a simple idea - to make a haunted house in Brilliant. 

That idea is now a nationally recognized attraction bringing thousands into the Ohio Valley every October, but more importantly - it's breaking down barriers.

Inside the walls of the spooky house is program unlike any other in country. The Wells Township Haunted House seems like an unlikely place for law enforcement officers to partner with outstanding teenagers. 

"You know in this day and age this line of work is not easy. There's a lot of misconceptions out there," said Captain Norman. 

Now, Captain Norman is out to change the way people see police officers. And it seems to be working for over 200 teenagers from East Liverpool to Powhatan Point who work alongside officers creating that haunted house from top to bottom. 

"They're not just coming in and dressing up and going 'Boo' they're building the place," Captain Norman said.  "Under supervision if they're doing a construction job a construction foreman or construction person is overseeing that, if they're helping with electrical work and our electricians are doing some work they're getting an idea of the advertising and how to market it properly."

Captain Norman said the kids put in over 13,000 hours of work. And despite the rooms being covered in fake blood and skeletons, the atmosphere is positive.

"Wells Township is one of the only townships in the world that I've been to where as the cruiser is drives down the street the kids are going out of their way to wave at the guy driving because they know him by first name," Captain Norman said.  

"So to give them that, they are seeing us first hand, not seeing what's on YouTube and not seeing what's being reported on Facebook, they know first hand that we're decent guys and we want to do a good job and we want to treat them right but we also want to be treated right as well, and we get that, and it's awesome," he said.

Sean said it makes it all worth it when he sees the teenagers open up about problems, forgo a party to work, and even head off to college.

He adds none of it would be possible without other officers showing the kids who they are, whether that's by putting on a costume, providing extra security, or helping build the house - he says he's thankful.

"I can't change the world but I can change my corner of it," Captain Norman said. 

Honor the Badge is presented by Quaker Steak and Lube at The Highlands. If you know an officer with an incredible story, send an e-mail to tditirro@wtrf.com or send a message to the WTRF 7News Facebook page.


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