Collingdale Library hosted its second monthly Books and Badges last week, a nightly event where a Collingdale police officer reads books to children every other Thursday.
This initiative was organized by Stacey LaCava, the new Collingdale Library director and staff, according to borough Councilwoman Kate Munro.
“And being on Borough Council, we’re pushing for it also because we want good relationships with the police and the children,” Munro said.
Last week, the topics of the books, read by officer Donald Beese, were about lives of first responders, particularly police officers and paramedics. Two children, the only two attended, enjoyed the books so much that Beese promised to bring a police dog and an ambulance to the next reading session.
“It’s to get the kids and us on the basis of reading books to them, showing them the police cars; letting them know that there’s nothing to be afraid of if they see us,” Beese said.
Procuring an ambulance is simple, Beese said; however, Collingdale Police Department doesn’t have a K-9 unit, but he said the department will reach out to neighboring departments for a dog to come to the library.
Beese added, “Hopefully what that will do is bring more kids here so that we can have a night like tonight, but with more people.”
Only two children were present for the reading session in the library, but the sirens and flashing lights on the patrol vehicle garnered the attention of two other children who were walking by.
Under the guidance of a real police officer, the children were given an exclusive and extensive tour of the police cruiser, which Beese said is crucial in bridging gaps between kids and cops.
In many cases, Beese said, children do not get the opportunity to interact with police and the only time the two groups cross paths is when officers are “flying down the street to something serious” or during an emergency. The divide is further widened because children are apprehensive to approach officers when they are doing their usual, non-urgent patrols.
“They are more than welcome to come to us to say ‘hi’ and we’ll show them our cars,” Beese said.