LAPD officers join Compton students for father-daughter dance

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Friday was a night of celebration in Watts for dozens of young princesses. The gymnasium at Compton Avenue Elementary School magically transformed into a beautiful ballroom - all for the annual father-daughter dance.

The music was thumping, feet were moving and smiles were everywhere!

"I really like the fact that these beautiful ladies are being empowered. They're being shown that they are princesses in their own right, and all are individuals and all are appreciated here," father Jesse Melano said.

"I think it's cool, it's really fun to experience, and we really like it. I'm with my dad and all my friends," fifth-grader Ashley Letelier said.

But not all of these young ladies have a father figure in their lives, so a number of local officers from the Los Angeles Police Department South Bureau danced in for the night.

"Today, they get to be a princess for the day. We've dubbed this dance the princess and the police officer. And let me tell you something, that smile on those little girl's faces, it's all the payment I need for everything that we do," said Jose Hernandez, senior pastor for Hope Central Watts.

LAPD Officer Jesse Ruiz came up with the idea for a fifth grade father-daughter dance five years ago. It's now spread to a number of schools in the LAPD's south bureau.
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