Mount Pleasant officials are always trying to find ways for the public to have meaningful interactions with town staff—especially police officers. To provide such an experience for the community’s youth, two police officers partnered with the Town’s communications staff to host the Reading Patrol. Held on the third Saturday of every month, the Reading Patrol is a free program for children ages 4–11. After officers read several stories, the children enjoy arts and crafts.
The planning process for Reading Patrol was two-pronged. Officers developed business relationships, solicited sponsorships, scheduled readers and selected monthly reading themes. The town’s communication office designed flyers, generated press releases and engaged the public on many media platforms. Funding for the project was minimal and came directly from town funds. Local businesses donated giveaway bags and craft materials.
Even though the program was an instant success, town officials knew they could do more. To promote even more face-to-face interaction between police and children, Mount Pleasant created a reward system called the Buddy Card. Reading Patrol participants collect officers’ signatures on their Buddy Cards. Once their card has ten signatures, the children can redeem them for a prize.
Response to the program has been significant. To date, officers have hosted 14 readings and reached out to more than 400 children. Young readers have redeemed 57 Buddy Cards after gathering 570 signatures from officers. Mount Pleasant’s communications department regularly posts pictures and videos of the events on Facebook where grateful parents regularly comment.
Contact Martine Wolfe-Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.884.8517.