"How old do you think I am? Let's have you guys guess instead of me answering that," Columbus Division of Police Acting Commander Tim Myers said at today's Books & Badges event.
"Ninety-eight?! What?!! How about you? How old do you think I am?"
"Let's go with that! I like that. I'm actually 35."
"Oh! You're not old!" exclaimed a girl with surprise.
The children at The Salvation Army in Central Ohio were well mannered and attentive, and they had a ton of questions for Lieutenant Myers after he read selected poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends to them. He actually started off with a tongue-twister of a poem, “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out." It's so challenging that all of us questioned his ability to pull it off, but he did such a great job that the kids burst into applause for him when he finished.
They loved that book, with several of the children getting so involved in it that they asked if they could read poems aloud. One girl was so excited to read that she read two. We spied another girl folding down pages of her book so she could return to a poem later. Her enthusiasm for the material made us smile.
We're sure Lieutenant Myers could have read the entire book to them and they'd have loved it, but they had other things on their schedule for the afternoon, so eventually, we turned to questions, and they had a LOT of them! The first one was, "Can I see your handcuffs?" which prompted a rundown of Lieutenant Myers's entire duty belt, including his radio--which they wanted to hear someone talk on--and his tourniquet--which he explained to them.
The kids were also very curious about the jail, prison, and prisoners. They wanted to know what kinds of meals the prisoners eat, if they eat the same food all the time, if it tastes good, what the inside of the prison looks like, and what the prisoners fight over. Lieutenant Myers did his best to answer, but we needed a deputy there to answer some of the more advanced questions. Maybe that will be another Books & Badges.
He did get asked our most popular question: "Do you eat donuts?" His response: "Of course! Don't you?" When asked what his favorite was, he said he likes all of them. He also got asked if he's ever crashed a car, if he's ever been in a car chase, if he's ever ran after anyone (foot pursuit), if he's ever interrogated anyone, and if police officers sleep at the police house. He was also given the tip that there's hair medicine he can put on his bald spot which will help him grow hair.
Our favorite question was, "Have you ever hated being a police officer?" Lieutenant Myers responded, "I've had some bad days and some sad days, but I've always been happy to be in a position to help people, so I've never hated being a police officer. I love what I do."
After the question and answer portion, the children had an opportunity to autograph Lieutenant Myers's book and have him sign theirs. They also gave him beautiful, heartfelt thank you cards that they obviously spent a lot of time on, with pretty drawings on them. One little boy, wanting to make a personalized card for him, but not knowing Lieutenant Myers's name, had left it blank then asked him for the information when he went to get his book signed, carefully writing it in before he presented him with the card.
Thanks to the Salvation Army in Central Ohio for inviting us to meet such a great bunch of children and to Lieutenant Myers for being his usual awesome self. We had a wonderful time!