Yesterday, we had our first ever joint-agency Books & Badges event. Sixteen Dublin and Columbus Division of Police officers read to 318 students at Daniel Wright Elementary School, which is a Dublin city school in Columbus's patrol area. In addition, as Dublin Chief Justin Páez explained to the second graders he read to, all five of his children went to Daniel Wright. So, this school was perfect for the agencies to do together, and we're so happy Daniel Wright agreed.
Every child got to take home a copy of the book the officers read to them. Some of them were about tigers, some were about ducks, some were about creepy places. CPD's Lieutenant Chris Lieb read, "If You Give a Pig a Party," and brought party hats in for everyone in the class--including the teachers. We've found that the kids love any book they receive and cherish the time they spend with the officers.
The children ask all sorts of questions, about the books and about policing. But as always, the number one question yesterday was about donuts. Even kindergartners will ask officers if they actually like donuts! (Answer: they're just like anyone else, most do, some don't. Some have wives who have told them they're not allowed to eat them anymore!) We embrace it and offer the officers stickers they can hand out that say, "Donut Worry Be Happy," along with donut ink stamps that they can put in the books when they sign them. The kids love them.
Of course, if a K-9 is there, that beats anything, and Officer Brian Carter and K-9 Odja visited the second graders of Ms. Ballentine's class. Odja bounces, "like a bunny," one child declared, much to the delight of everyone in the class. When we walked out with them, Officer Carter and Odja had to leave via a walkway that was visible from where the kids were eating lunch, and immediately the whole room stopped, thrilled that a dog was there. We felt so bad, because the kids wouldn't be able to talk to Odja, but Officer Carter knew exactly what to do.
"Hi, kids! Would you like to see my dog jump?"
A loud chorus of "yes's" immediately came.
"OK. Stay where you are, and I'll have him jump." He had Odja do some jumps, and they were so excited. Well, done, Officer Carter and K-9 Odja!
Daniel Wright is a very large school, and we read to slightly more than half the classes, so we'll be back to read to the rest soon. We can't wait!