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Grand Forks police officer holds virtual story time

Two 'Books and Badges' videos have been posted on the Grand Forks Police Department's social media pages showing GFPD Officer Brandis LaFrombois reading picture books. She said she hopes to continue creating the videos as long as people seem to enjoy them.

A screenshot of Grand Forks Police Officer Brandis LaFrombois' second "Books and Badges" virtual storytime, posted to GFPD's social media on April 4.

The "Badges and Books" videos posted to the Grand Forks Police Department Facebook and Instagram pages open with an invitation.

"You caught me just reading a little bit of story time here again," Officer Brandis LaFrombois says in the most recent video, posted April 4. "Would you like to come along and read it with me?"

The video, which shows LaFrombois reading "Little Bitty Mousie" by Jim Aylesworth in her squad car, has been viewed more than 2,300 times as of Wednesday morning, April 8. The first video, a reading of "Dog's Colorful Day" by Emma Dodd posted March 28, has been viewed 5,900 times and shared 61 times.

Those two books were easy to pick, LaFrombois said -- they're two of her childrens' favorites.


LaFrombois said she got the idea for "Books and Badges" one day recently when she was scrolling through Instagram and saw an officer in another department doing the same thing. With more families staying home, LaFrombois said it's been more difficult for officers to connect with the Grand Forks community as they normally would, and she saw the virtual story times as a creative opportunity to do just that.

"I know how difficult it is to have three kids in a house with a quarantine and not be able to get out much," she said. "I know it's easy to get cooped up, so we do a lot of silly story time stuff and try to stay as busy as we can, but I understand that perspective and how other parents must feel -- it's kind of an opportunity for them just to jump on Facebook for a couple minutes, maybe drink some coffee and let their kids listen to a book while they take a break."

The videos are filmed and produced with the help from the department's Special Resource Bureau. Unlike similar videos, the Grand Forks Police "Books and Badges" show closeups of the book pages alongside video of LaFrombois, making it easier for children to see the pictures and follow along with the words.

She hopes to continue to post "Books and Badges" videos once or twice a week for as long as people seem to enjoy them. As the program becomes a more regular presence on GFPD's social media, she said she hopes to include more silly props or hats and invite other officers or Grand Forks firefighters to do guest readings.

Though there are only two readings posted, LaFrombois said she's already been stopped a few times by people who recognized her from "Books and Badges." She said it's nice to know the videos are being seen by community members, especially as the department continues to find ways to connect with them.

"Honestly, right now, it's just kind of that patrolling and looking for creative ways, like 'Books and Badges,' to show people that we're still here," LaFrombois said. "We're thinking about you, and we're here for you if you need us."

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