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Top 10 Posts of 2019

Our top stories from 2019 include both feel-good and educational stories. We gathered data from both our Facebook page and our website to determine what you thought were the most compelling stories we told in 2019 (and included one honorable mention!). Enjoy...

10. We start off with our friends at the Franklin County Sheriff's Office Therapy Dog Program, who were our guest speakers at our June meeting. Sergeant Jason Ratcliff, Deputy Darrah Metz, and therapy K-9's Kit and Mattis came to educate us about their program and gave us a glimpse into what the future would bring for not just the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, but Columbus Division of Police as well. We are so proud to have this ground breaking program here in Franklin County and very honored to call them friends.

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9. Our primary mission at Starfish is to help people. Our secondary mission to help educate the community about what police officers do. We want to show the public that the overwhelming majority of police officers go to work every day to try to make a difference. One way we do that is by going on ride alongs, so you'll see a few of those on this list including this one, when our president, Nicole Banks, was able to go on a Columbus Division of Police helicopter ride along.

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8. Sometimes its the simplest things that move people the most. You were very moved by Community Liaison Officer Kelly Shay's request for reusable water bottles for a basketball team that was sharing one between them and Dr James A Homon, Orthodontist immediately stepping in to help out the team with fantastic, color changing water bottles. Such a sweet story.

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7. Another ride along Nicole was able to do was the one she feared most: the one with K-9 Ayko and his handler, David Jones. But she need not have worried. She and Ayko got along just fine, and Ofc Jones was wonderful about educating her about the intricacies of his job, which many of you loved reading about, making it one of our top stories of the year. Ofc Jones will be our guest speaker at our Starfish meeting next Thursday, January 9, at 6:30pm, Panera Bread, 877 Bethel Rd. We hope to see you there!

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6. In July, Ofc Trevor Wolfe met a 16-year-old boy, Derick, who was walking home late at night from his job at Burger King. Ofc Wolfe asked if Starfish could get a bicycle for him so he wouldn't have to walk. We reached out to our friends at Walmart, who were so moved by Ofc Wolfe's email that they donated a bike and a two year service plan.

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5. Bikes are big in Starfish-land (a fact that will come up again later), and in August we helped Ofcs Kyle Cull and Aaron McDonald get a bike for the birthday of a boy in their patrol area (12 Precinct). When they found out his sister's birthday was a short time later and that the family was in need of clothing, food, and other items, they turned to us for help, and you came through in a big way. We ended up getting bikes for all the kids in the family, which was really fun. It became one of our biggest stories of the year, and we think their mom summed it up beautifully, "Thank you Ofc Cull and Ofc McDonald and the rest of the team for blessing my Family. Ofc Cull and Ofc McDonald would meet my boys after school @ 5:30 pm to play basketball with them. They both ask my boys how is school going and my boys would say good and Ofc Cull would tell them do your best and we'll come and play basketball. I started to see a change in my boys. Ofc Cull and Ofc McDonald are great Role models and I thank them both for taking the time out there day and stopped by. When my boys see cop cars they think it’s them and they smile every time they come."

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4. Coming in at number four are the heartwarming stories about Ofc Poole, Shaunea, Nakeyah, and all the people and officers who helped get this formerly homeless family a car and an apartment in time for Christmas. Rather than put a few of these stories on the list, we combined them into one. We think this post sums it up best.

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3. We said bikes were big here, and we were not kidding. Our third biggest story of the year was about bikes! Our friend Lt Scott Bartholow connected us with Cathy Collins and Ralph Jones from the Bug Your Bike program since so many of our Assignments include bikes. This program provides free microchips that you can put on your bike so if it's lost or stolen you have a much better chance of having it returned to you. We wrote a post to get the word out to our readers, and you shared the post extensively. You do not have to live in the City of Columbus to participate. Please check it out if you haven't already. It really is a fantastic program.

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2. Cops and Barbers. Just thinking about it makes us smile. This two-day, four-location event involved so many cops, barbers, and volunteers. It touched over a thousand kids. It was amazing. We were so happy to be part of it, and to work with our friends at AEP OHIO (this was our first-ever event with them). We're thrilled you loved reading about it (as with Shaunea, we've combined the posts into one). There will be exciting changes coming this year for Cops and Barbers, and we're looking forward to supporting it again.

A few weeks ago, we were at Adams Rec Center and saw a girl with one of the Cops and Barbers backpacks. She also had one of the water bottles the CPD Community Liaison Officers had handed out. When we told her we helped organize that event and that we were really happy to see she liked the bag and the bottle, she smiled shyly and said, "I really liked it. I had a really good time there."

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1. Our number one post from 2019 was the sweet story of two CPD officers spending their Black Friday in the freezing dirt of a Hilltop backyard, replacing the brakes, pads, rotors, and calipers of a single dad's car so he wouldn't lose his job that following Monday. It's as simple as that and as lovely as that. When we put out the call asking for donations for this Assignment it was Thanksgiving Eve. You all responded, raising the requested $700 in less than four hours. Then Ofc Dan Snyder and his friend Ofc Jesse Perkins decided to do the work themselves, which enabled more work to be done on the car for less money.

This meant dad Tom was able to catch up on some bills in addition to getting his car fixed. It was such a great way to kick of an outstanding Holiday season.

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HONORABLE MENTION

The number one most read story on our website for 2019 didn't qualify for entry because it was published in December 2018. But it most definitely would have made this list if it had been published just a few weeks later. It's the account of Nicole's ride along with In/Tac, the unit that, among other things, serves the no-knock search warrants for CPD.

Here is an excerpt: "As I sat listening to the strategy, I felt like I was bearing witness to a battle plan. And in the war on drugs, the In/Tac team is certainly on the front lines, participating in battles nearly every working day. When they make plans to breach a house, they have to assume they’re going to encounter armed drug dealers with nothing to lose. At the same time, they don’t want innocent people caught up in the cross fire, and they go into many drug houses that have children and/or elderly people in residence. One detective told me of an old woman whose house had been taken over by her drug dealing granddaughter. The poor woman was relegated to one room of the house, which was meticulously cared for, while the rest of the house was in ruin."

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