GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) — One special resident has landed the job of his dreams. Stephen Hendsbee joined the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office today as an honorary deputy.

For more than 20 years, Hendsbee has wanted to become a police officer, relatives said. His path to becoming a sheriff’s deputy was different from most other cadets: Hendsbee was born with Downs Syndrome, a genetic mutation that causes intellectual and physical disabilities.

On Friday, a few months after his 38th birthday, his dream of joining law enforcement finally came true.

Greenville County Sheriff Hobard Lewis performed the swearing-in ceremony at the Greenville Law Enforcement Center in front of a crowd of family, friends, and new colleagues.

The sheriff then provided Hendsbee with a badge, a personalized shirt, and an identification card. Hendsbee then received a tour of the Law Enforcement Center, learned how to turn on police sirens, and sat in the department’s helicopter.

“Any time we can create a relationship with the community and let them know that we’ve got law enforcement here that they can trust and believe in, that’s the message we’re trying to send,” said Lewis. “Stephen is going to be our biggest advocate for that. We couldn’t have a bigger cheerleader than him.”

Jim Reeder, who is Hendsbee’s stepfather, said his son has been “infatuated” with law enforcement officers for at least 20 years.

“Every time that we go into a restaurant and there’s a police officer in there, he always gets up from the table and goes over to shake their hands. There could be a half a dozen [officers], there could be one or two,” Reeder said. “They put their life on the line every day. And I think he’s very appreciative in his own way of what they do for our community.”

After the event, Hendsbee said he is excited to be an honorary deputy, and he’s looking forward to saying “hello” and shaking hands with people in the community.