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Pawsome Fun at St. Mary Magdalene School

Today, St. Mary Magdalene (SMM) School buzzed with excitement as Books & Badges unfolded, bringing together children and officers from Columbus Division of Police. We even had a special appearance from the K-9 unit!

The morning was filled with stories and laughter as CPD officers, most of whom went to SMM themselves, returned to share their favorite tales. They were joined by Gahanna Division of Police Safety Director and Starfish Advisory Board Member, Tim Becker, who got to talk to kids about the days when he roamed the halls of SMM himself.

One memorable moment came when Officer Vantilburg answered questions from the children and confessed to being a Michigan fan. In a room full of Buckeyes, that did not go over very well (they even gave us an I-O when we called out O-H!). However, Officer Vantilburg quickly redeemed himself when he said he's a Ronaldo fan--actual cheers erupted over that.

In a different room, Officer Kulp was challenged to an arm wrestling competition. Once that tough tyke beat him, every child in the class lined up to show him how strong they were, and yep, they all won!

In the afternoon, the excitement reached a new level with the arrival of Sgt Redding and Officer Carter. The students asked a bunch of great questions and listened to everything Officer Carter asked them to do when he introduced them to his partner, Odja. The children even reminded each other not to crowd Odja as they patiently waited their turn for him to come by for pets.

A huge shoutout to the amazing children and staff of St. Mary Magdalene for their enthusiasm, respect, and incredible behavior throughout the day. You made this event so special!

And, of course, our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all the officers and furry friends for sharing their day, stories, and knowledge with us. You brought laughter, learning, and a sense of community that we'll cherish always. Thank you especially to Officer LaBrake for his efforts at organizing this amazing event.

What a fantastic day filled with books, badges, and paws! Here’s to many more moments like these.


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