CLARKSVILLE: Crissy Haslam, First Lady of Tennessee, alongside Mayor Kim McMillan, Chief of Police Al Ansley, and members of the City of Clarksville Police Department, partnered Monday to kick off a reading initiative program at the Kleeman Community Center and the Burt-Cobb Community Center.
Read20 Book Patrol is a program that is encouraging young children to read at least 20 minutes a day, while partnering with law enforcement to build positive relationships with officers in Tennessee communities.
“The Police Department wholeheartedly supports the Read20 program,” Ansley said. “The positive interaction between law enforcement and the community, especially at an early age, is paramount to building relationships. The Read20 is another avenue the Police Department can achieve that goal as well as promoting literacy at a young age. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of the program.”
The program launched in 2014 after Haslam expressed a desire to get more books into the hands of children who may not have access to books in their home. Haslam’s program donated the first 500 books to the community. The Kiwanis Club is sponsoring all additional books distributed to the community.
“We’re fortunate to have supportive organizations like the Kiwanis who have stepped up to ensure Read20 continues to be viable in the future,” Ansley said.
Ideally, any time an officer is on patrol in the City, or at a community event, a child can approach them and receive a new book to read because officers will keep books on hand in their squad cars.
Research shows that reading with children during early years positively impacts the child, the family, their education and the community as a whole. Read20 Book Patrol focuses on low-income areas to reduce crime and empower young students. The program has partnered with law enforcement in the state’s largest metro areas, as well as several rural communities.