REACH-A-Child drops off more than 600 books to MPD District 2

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MILWAUKEE (CBS) -- The Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) District 2 has 30 squad cars, and now, thanks to the REACH-A-Child program, each one is filled with books to help children during traumatic incidents. 

"As an officer, it's very hard to see. Children experience trauma all the time and it's very hard. Probably one of the hardest parts of our job," said Captain Patrick Pajot with the MPD. 

Now officers will have another tool to help them during those interactions. 

"That child is having the worst day of their life," said Curtis Fuszard, executive director at REACH-A-Child. 

It's called a REACH bag. On Thursday, Fuszard dropped off 30 backpacks with 15 books each, plus 200 extra books to refill them. Whether an officer is meeting a child because of a house fire or a family crisis, the book can provide a distraction when they can only partially remove them from the situation. 

"Often times [it's] a squad car," said Fuszard. "Open up the backpack filled with new children's books and have the child select one that they'd like to read together. So now the child is being comforted by the presence of a first responder and the power of a book."

REACH-A-Child provides thousands of books to emergency responders across Wisconsin. On average, a book costs them $10. To keep bags filled, they receive donations from people and businesses, like Kohl's Cares.

Officers thank Fuszard for the generous donation, and they say they'll come in handy often. 

"We're going to come back to district two however often you'd like," Fuszard told Captain Pajot. "Hopefully it will have allowed them to transition from a very scary, emotional state to one that is more calming and comforted." 

You can find information about donating a book to REACH-A-Child here. Fuszard says they're always in need of bilingual books. 

 

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