The Marion City Police Department’s MPACT Program’s mission is to positively unite Police and citizens. That’s also the goal of the Starfish organization’s Books and Badges Program, which is kicking off in the Marion City Schools.
Tuesday morning Starfish delivered 600 books that Marion City Police Officers will be reading and distributing to Marion City School’s and St. Mary’s Elementary students in the coming months. Starfish was the idea of Columbus resident Nicole Banks. She wanted to get books in the hands of youth, and thought it’d be a great partnership if the books could be read and left with kids aged 6 to 11 by police officers. So, she reached out to Columbus Police Deputy Chief Becker who fast-tracked the program that began in 2018.
MPD Chief Jay McDonald was made aware of the program and wondered if Marion could join. New MPACT Coordinator, Lt. Ed Brown, reached out and now Marion is the first satellite of the program.
Marion City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ron Iarussi is appreciative of the opportunity to advance the schools systems literacy initiative to include this program. He welcomes the Marion Police Officers to the buildings to read to the students and create positive interactions. The program will be run by Lt. Brown’s team at MPACT, that includes elementary School Resource Officer Shane Gabriel.
Chief McDonald says this is just the next step in an ongoing process to stay connected to kids and help officers to continue to build positive relationships in the community. The Chief said the response from the officers wanting to volunteer has been exceptional and this is a “no-sell” ask of his team.