"Thank you for the happiest day of my life," one little boy told the Columbus Police officers who came to read to his class at St Mary Magdelene on the Hilltop as part of our Books & Badges program. We had a wonderful time watching the officers and children interact with the students in kindergarten through fourth grade. The officers were treated like rock stars--complete with exclamations of delight when the kids found out they would autograph the books they got to take home with them.
The event was organized by Officer Scott LaBrake, who not only patrols the area, but is a dedicated volunteer at the school. In fact, he coached two of the officers who read yesterday, Officers Puccetti and Livingston, in football when they went to school there themselves. The kids were thrilled to hear that, and many of them spoke of becoming officers themselves. Officer Livingston even demonstrated one of the many things they'll need to do in the police academy--push-ups.
When Officer LaBrake autographed books, he included the children's names, which one boy thought was magic. "How did you know my name?" he gasped in awe.
Officer LaBrake pointed to the name tag on the child's desk, "It's right there. I went to detective school."
Another officer remarked, "Yep. In our business, we call that a clue," causing the boy to laugh.
The children also got to meet Sergeant Ed Daniher, who has been with the Division longer than any other officer. They were thrilled to hear this AND to hear that he was a helicopter pilot, and they lined up to get him to autograph their books (as we would, too).
Such a fun event for everyone. Thank you to St. Mary Magdalene for having us, to Officer LaBrake for organizing this, and to all the officers for making it so special.