LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) —  The LA Country Sheriff’s Department added to their ranks Wednesday.

They recruited a 12-year-old boy.

What Alonso Hoffman might lack in life experience (and height for that matter), he more than makes up with in courage and determination.

Hoffman was recently diagnosed with leukemia.

CBS2’s Kristine Lazar was there when Hoffman got his wish to be a deputy for the day.

He was sworn in Wednesday outside MTA headquarters. Hoffman was given his own monogrammed sheriff’s vest and the full five-star treatment from his brothers and sisters at the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

Choking back tears Hoffman said, “I’d like to say thank you. It’s a major honor.”

Thursday, he’s checking into the hospital to start three years of treatment to fight the leukemia.

“It’s pretty tough seeing him at his down times,” said his mother, Desiree Hoffman, “and now that I can see him smile, I mean, this is his passion. I know that one day he’s going to be a K-9 officer.”

That passion was sparked in part by his uncle, an officer with the Monrovia Police Department.

“If I could take his place,” said Mike Garcia, Hoffman’s uncle, “I would. It’s been very hard. But he’s a tough kid. He changes your perspective on life.”

Part of Hofffman’s day included going to a secure location — off limits to the press and the public — to learn how K-9 officers are trained. He was scheduled to finish the day on patrol with a K-9 officer.

The little boy might be looking up to the officers, but as Lazar reported, they were finding things about Hoffman to admire.

While Hoffman was made an honorary deputy for the day, officials told Lazar he is welcome back to visit any time.

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