The celebrity “Social Media Cop” from Arkansas stopped in the metro-east last month to meet up with an old friend: a kindergartener at Ellis Elementary School in Belleville.
Officer Tommy Norman — who is an entry on Wikipedia and has more than 1 million likes on his Facebook page — had just thrown out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium. In a video he broadcast live on Facebook at the Sept. 29 game against the Cincinnati Reds, Norman called it “one of the biggest days of my life. It’s a big honor.”
Before heading to the airport the next day, Norman went to the elementary school to surprise Timothy Johnson, or “Tim Tim” as Norman calls him and how hundreds of thousands know him online. Timothy used to live in a neighborhood Norman patrolled in Arkansas.
“Tim Tim” is featured in countless social media posts that Norman sent out to his followers. And he is clearly beloved by them. One fan from California even sent Timothy his very own child-size squad car. He’s Officer Norman’s “partner.”
Norman posted several videos and photos of the pals meeting again. In one, Norman asks, “Are you a police officer, Tim Tim?” Timothy answers with a head nod and an excited “yep!”
“He talks about that all the time,” says Mrs. Mathenia, Timothy’s teacher at Ellis, in the video.
Principal Dave Deets got to witness the visit, which he called “very special and moving,” in a post to his Instagram account.
“The moment was fantastic to watch and I was thankful he allowed Tim’s teacher, Mrs. Mathenia, and myself to be a part of it,” Deets wrote in the post.
Norman has gained national attention for his approach to community policing. He posts examples of his day-to-day interactions in North Little Rock to his fans online — through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — in an effort to change the way people perceive the police. He has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, and on the Today Show.
“If you would have told me when my career began in 1998 that I’d be blessed with a platform to inspire, I may have looked at you funny,” Norman wrote in a recent Instagram post. “I’m thankful & most importantly humbled!”