OGDEN -- Officer Kevin Mann was waiting in line at the grocery store one day. He wore his yellow and black uniform, which is a bit more colorful than the average police uniform.
The little boy in front of him turned around and looked him up and down.
"Mommy, is that a super hero?" he asked his mother.
Mann was beaming, until the mother replied, "No honey, he's just a cop."
Today, Mann laughs about it and says that all in all, he is just a cop. Although, he's not your typical cop.
As part of the Community Policing Unit, he's got a different mission -- to be the face of the Ogden police force.
"You definitely need to be a people person for this," Mann said.
While most officers are bound to answer dispatch, Mann isn't tied to the radio and has a bit more freedom. He has more time to handle problems that require depth and delicacy.
The problems he takes care of can range from regular traffic stops to responding to a loud party -- miscellaneous things that aren't considered a priority for most officers, but are just as important to enforcing the law.
Mann also has the opportunity to really speak with people of the city and become plugged into what is going on.
A casual chat with a former felon can be worth it. Driving around the downtown area, he'll frequently spot familiar faces.
"Still working over at that Maverik? I haven't seen you there in awhile," Mann asked a woman he recognized and stopped by to talk.
"Yeah, working nights now," she replied.
Then, after chatting a bit:
"Got information for me?" he asked sharply.
"Not today," she said.
On a good day, she might have revealed who's dealing what drug on which corner, he said.
"I'm not out here to harass people," Mann said. Sometimes it pays to let people off with a warning rather than a ticket so they'd be more willing to talk in the future, he said.
Like any police officer, sometimes he's forced to arrest people, but he prefers a different approach. The 27-year-veteran said there have been times when he's had to talk people into handcuffs, rather than by force.
"It's called 'verbal judo,'" he said. It's his preferred method when faced with the task of making an arrest.
"It's better to de-escalate things and gain control of the situation," he said.
Once Mann was called to a domestic violence situation where he had to demonstrate his verbal judo. A wife had called police after her husband became violent and started destroying objects in the house.
"This guy was huge," Mann said. "I saw that he had punched a hole in the wall that actually almost went through to the other side."
Mann made the determination that the suspect was a threat to his wife and had to be taken to jail.
"I did my best to keep him calm, 'cause, boy, he was mad," he said, noting that the man could have easily taken on the officer.
After cooling down the suspect, Mann was able to convince him to voluntarily go to jail.
Mann has the opportunity to also show the more personal side of the police force.
He sees a couple kids sitting on a street corner by the library and stops.
"Hey, guys, how are you doing?" he asked the kids. At first they were clearly shy, but soon saw that they weren't in trouble.
He talked with them and soon got out their names and how their day was going. He rewarded them with Ogden police stickers and told them not to talk to strangers.
Mann personally tries to be friendly with kids.
"Sometimes in their mind we can be the bad guy," he said. A parent could be hauled away and maybe even roughed up by an officer, which leaves a negative impression on the children who see it.
Mann recalled one time going out on such a call.
"I'll never forget seeing the look on these kids' faces. They saw me and ran away, in fear," he said. Apparently, their father had recently been taken to jail.
The best part of being on the Community Policing Unit is that he has time to actually solve people's problems, he said.
"The average patrolman is really busy, running from one call to the next," Mann said.
It's satisfying to know that he can help with little problems in life and let people know that the police aren't to be feared, but relied on, he said.
Contact reporter Andreas Rivera at 801-625-4227, firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @SE_Andreas.