"What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened to you?" the fourth-grader asked Columbus Police Officer Drew Welke at our Books & Badges event at Highland Elementary School yesterday.
"Well..." he paused, thinking about it for a moment. "Oh, I know!" He explained that it was the time he got a call of people who had tried to break into a McDonald's through the roof, but had gotten stuck. He climbed up and successfully handcuffed them. Only to realize that he was now stuck. How was he supposed to get off the roof with handcuffed prisoners?
"We had to call the fire department to rescue us. With their big, bucket truck." The fourth graders thought that was very cool. (We thought it was very funny.)
Reading to a different class of fourth graders was Acting Commander Tim Myers, who held them spellbound, as always, with his tales of spotting many of the animals in the book he read, Truths & Myths About Weird Animals. He always passes around photos of animals he's taken while on vacation, and the kids absolutely love it.
Children really like him in general. One little girl in the second-grade class he also read to followed him out in the hall and asked him, "Can I have a hug?" He immediately dropped to his knees to embrace her.
Another highlight of this wonderful day was that it was our dear friend Officer Ed Chung's first Books & Badges reading! We have no idea how it happened that he's never read before, but here we are. It was great that he read at Highland because he went to high school with Principal Michelle Deime and was excited to go to her school.
We learned something about him as he read Why Do Animals Hibernate: he hates frogs. They jump around on the golf course and distract him from his ball, plus they're slimy. Oh, and some are poisonous, as a second-grader helpfully pointed out for his cause.
All three officers answered questions for the children about their duties, what's on their belts, how long they've been police officers, and spoke to them about gun safety. One child disbelievingly asked, "Where would a kid find a gun?" which was a great question and gave Officer Welke an opportunity to tell them where a child would find a gun--in a yard, at a friend's house, in their parent's house. He said it didn't matter where they saw it, never touch it. Go get an adult or call 911.
We leave you with the parting words of Officer Welke's fourth graders:
"How old are you?"
"WOW! That means in SEVEN YEARS you're gonna be FORTY!!!"