We had a fantastic time today at Burroughs Elementary School and Columbus Division of Police Chief Thomas Quinlan, who read "What Does a Police Horse Do" to 67 third graders as part of our Books & Badges program. Every child also went home with their own copy of the book to keep forever.
Prior to the reading, the kids got to meet members of the mounted unit. One of the horses was Sam, the draft horse who was donated by a West Virginia teen last year. Sam is still getting used to doing police work, but as you can see, the children were very happy to have him there.
The children were also very happy to have Chief Quinlan there. They asked him a ton of questions. One of the first ones was, "How many women are police officers?" We liked that one! Turns out 11% of the Columbus police force is female, and the chief took the opportunity to ask the children to encourage their moms, sisters, aunts, and cousins to become police officers. He also asked them to consider police work when they're older. We think the Recruiting Unit would be quite pleased with him.
Not surprisingly, the kids had questions about CPD's animals. They wanted to know how many horses they have (10) and how many dogs. (CPD has nine K-9's--three German Shepherds and six Belgian Malinois. They also have five therapy dogs.) They wanted to know about the training they go through, especially the horses, of course.
They asked how many police officers there are (1,900), how many police cars (300 marked), and if the officers all carry the same guns (for the most part, yes).
They asked the Chief if it's hard being a police officer. He said there are days that it's really hard, but then there are days when they get to help people and it makes it worth it. He also said that he likes to get out and talk to people, like at this event with them.
Burroughs is located in the Hilltop area of Columbus and was locked down last month while CPD investigated a nearby shooting. Not surprisingly, then, one of the children asked why the helicopters fly over their school. Chief Quinlan explained that the helicopters help keep them safe, that they can see people and things in the sky and report to the officers down below as well.
And then...the Chief was asked the question that is our number one Books & Badges question: "Do you like coffee and donuts?"
He laughed and said, "What's not to like about donuts? Do you like donuts?" The kids all agreed they did. He talked about some of his favorite things about donuts, but then said he REALLY likes coffee. (Don't we all, Chief. Don't we all.)
After the question and answer session, the kids had an opportunity to have their books signed by all five police officers in attendance: Chief Quinlan, Deputy Chief Tim Becker, and Community Liaison Officers Brian Newsome, James Poole, and Ryan Sigman. The kids loved having their books signed so much that some of them asked our Starfish volunteer, their teachers, and their friends to sign theirs as well. Then all of the kids happily signed a copy of the book for Chief Quinlan to have as a keepsake.
Truly a fun day for everyone!