Books and Badges: Wisconsin State Patrol launches virtual reading program for kids

MILWAUKEE -- The Wisconsin State Patrol has launched a program called "Books and Badges" where troopers read books to kids in their cars.

Wisconsin State Trooper David White

Normally, State Trooper David White would be on the road. Tuesday, he was opening the pages of his favorite childhood book as part of the new program.

"For me, it's a way to reach out to the community and the youth, children today," White said. "Traditionally, law enforcement officers across the state and the nation would go into schools and they would read books to children to help increase literacy."

Wisconsin State Trooper David White

The program's goal is for troopers and dispatchers to interact with the community -- despite the "Safer at Home" order -- by reading books to kids virtually. With every page turned, the readers hope to cheer kids up while also introducing who is behind the badge.

Erica Ballweg-Larsen

"We're trying to keep them comfortable," State Patrol Sgt. Erica Ballweg-Larsen said. "We want to humanize the badge the best way that we can and we want to interact with the public the best way that we can."

They call it "Trooper Tuesday" -- releasing a new reading every Tuesday. The Wisconsin State Patrol recognizes that while the current chapter in life might look a little different, it hopes kids can read beyond the lines and find hope during a time of uncertainty.

"They're not getting that, you know daily book reading like elementary schoolers would normally have," said Ballweg-Larsen. "It's great to see the positive impact that we've had so far."

If you would like to tune-in for the Wednesday reading, CLICK HERE.