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Bond Beyond Call of Duty: Cop Saves Baby and Becomes Family



Quick Smiles:

  • Connecticut police officer, Det. Michael Harton, formed an unbreakable bond with a baby girl, Tooka, whose life he saved five years ago.
  • Despite their different backgrounds and races, Harton and Tooka’s family have become an integral part of each other’s lives, with Harton even being Tooka’s godfather.
  • Their story serves as a beacon of unity and human connection, transcending the drama of the world and the often strained relationship between the community and the police.

The tale of Det. Michael Harton of the North Haven, Connecticut Police Department and a little girl named Tooka is a testament to the power of human connection. Harton, a police officer for 27 years, saved Tooka’s life five years ago, and their bond has only grown stronger since. “Everybody’s lives changed for the better that night — especially mine,” Harton shared.

“We’re all human. We get so involved in the drama of the world. It’s nice to be able to take care of each other, no matter where we come from or what our situation may be.”

On March 4, 2019, Harton was on duty at a movie theater when a frantic woman, Nikki Huckaby, rushed out of a movie with her three-month-old daughter, Tooka, in her arms. “She was frantic,” Harton recalled. “You could tell as soon as I grabbed her that she was in distress.”

Huckaby, whose baby had been born prematurely, was on her first outing since Tooka’s birth. “She had never been left alone without me,” Huckaby said. But when she noticed that Tooka was not breathing, she ran out of the theater, knowing there was an officer outside.

“My baby is not breathing,” Huckaby told Harton. “The only thing I could do was call on the name of Lord God, Jesus,” she said. “There was nothing else that I knew to do in that moment.”

Harton, who is also a trained EMT, immediately performed a variation of the Heimlich maneuver for infants. “I started with back blows and that’s when she curled her back up and completely went limp on me,” Harton said. Then I started doing back blows, chest compressions, back blows, chest compressions.”

Despite the intense pressure of the situation, Harton remained determined. “Talk about a rollercoaster ride of emotion,” he said. “I kept saying to myself, ‘Not on my watch. Not on my watch.’”


Huckaby remembers the fear and panic as she watched Harton try to save her daughter. Then, suddenly, there was a cry — Tooka was going to be okay. “Mom hugged me and thanked me,” Harton said. “We just became part of each other’s lives.”

The bond between Harton and Tooka’s family has continued to grow since that fateful night. Harton and his wife, Susan, have shared dinners, birthdays, holidays, and special occasions with Huckaby and Tooka. “We just became part of each other’s lives,” Harton said. He even became “Uncle Mike” to Tooka and her family.

“It has been so rewarding for us to have all of them [as] a part of our lives,” Huckaby said. “And it’s also a story because we come from two different walks of life. We’re from two different cultures, two different races. And for us to come together, especially in the way today’s world is with community and police, it just brings a whole new light to things.”

Harton’s encounter with Tooka and her mother has had a profound impact on him. “In my job, I try to treat people the way I would want to be treated,” Harton said. “We have to look out for each other. If we don’t agree on certain things, that’s fine. But let’s all — let’s all get along.”

Huckaby appreciates the support and acceptance she and Tooka have received from Harton and his family. “I’ve never felt judged,” she said. “I’m a single mom and Uncle Mike is her father figure. They treat us like family and are so supportive.”

Harton is grateful for the bond he shares with Tooka and her family. He hopes their story will inspire a positive relationship between law enforcement and the community. “We’re family. There’s nothing that’s going to take that away from us.”


And for Tooka, having a police officer as a godfather is a source of pride. “When other kids make her mad,” Huckaby said, “she tells them, ‘You know, my godfather’s a cop.’”