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Books and Badges Kick Off

We are excited to report that last week we kicked off our Books and Badges program. You may remember that this program is designed for officers to read a book of their choice to a classroom of kids, and then every child receives a copy of that book to take home with them. We had a fantastic start, with four Columbus Division of Police​ officers reading to 96 excited Columbus City Schools​ children at East Columbus Elementary School​.

Columbus Ohio Division of Police Recruitment Sergeant Christopher Smith-Hughes, Community Liaison Officers Tony Rogers and Eric Jones, and K-9 Officer David Jones, were the stellar cast of policemen who came to read The Night Before Christmas to these students. It was such a thrill to see the kids and the officers interact. The children were excited to be read to, but really thrilled when they heard the were going to be able to take a book home. All of the books have stickers inside that reminds the child the book was a gift from their friends at the Columbus Division of Police.

We've partnered with Scholastic​, who are offering us books in their catalog at a steep discount. For books that aren't offered by Scholastic, we're working with The Book Loft of German Village​, who are giving us a substantial discount off the cover price.

So far, we've already ordered 1,040 books for Books and Badges, and that's just for readings through January. This program is extremely popular with both the schools and the officers. We received $10,000 of funding from 100 Men Who Give a Damn. We're currently seeking long term sponsors, and hope to take the program to police departments outside of Columbus as soon as possible.

We want to thank Chief Thomas Quinlan, Deputy Chiefs Timothy Becker and Michael Woods, and Acting Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight for supporting this program so immediately and completely. It is to the credit of the Division that we approached them with this idea on a Friday and they gave us the go ahead the next Monday. We always love working with CPD, but this one was particularly fun and easy. Thank you.

We've already scheduled readings for Deputy Chiefs Becker and Woods for January (they'll be reading Where the Sidewalk Ends and Horton Hatches the Egg respectively), and this is only the beginning. We have a host of other patrol officers and Division leaders who want to read to students (many more than once!). Our dear friends on 13 Precinct (South Side) even want to read to every grade in every elementary school classroom on their precinct as soon as we secure a sponsor. Maybe by next school year!

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