PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. — It’s not unusual for aspiring book writers to have another career. But FOX4 found one man who’s using his real job and his passion for writing to reach kids.
A Prairie Village police officer has made a slight career change. He’s still on patrol, and now he’s also a children’s book author.
But this latest career change wasn’t the biggest career change for Brian Wolf.
Not even close.
“I’ve always been able to get along with kids very well.” Officer Wolf said.
He loves patrolling the streets of Prairie Village and Mission Hills. But the “beat” he loved most? Patrolling the halls of five Shawnee Mission schools as a school resource and DARE officer.
He spent seven years helping kids and parents navigate social media, bullying, drugs and alcohol.
“The greatest reward was when a parent would come up to me and say that my child had DARE today and they started talking about what they learned in DARE class,” he said.
But outside those school walls, tensions mounted between police and the people they serve. Scenes playing out on TV and online. Officer Wolf thought kids needed a different scene.
“I think it’s important to reach them when they’re younger so that they can know what police officers are about, know that they’re there to help out,” he said.
So, the “officer” became the “author” – from writing police reports, to writing a children’s book.
“There’s a Wolf in My School” is the story of a friendly “Wolf in police clothing” who hangs with them, protects them, and yes, teaches them.
“(Kids) know that they’re the safe stranger they can go to if they ever need that,” Wolf said.
But long before Officer Wolf authored a children’s book, he made an even bigger career change. Laid off during the 2008 downturn, 17 years into an advertising career, the then 42-year-old father of a young family decided to pursue his true passion.
He shifted from the white-collar sales world to a collar of blue.
“I was pretty excited. The training program was tough. The academy it was tough. But it was well worth it,” he said.
The police academy that is, that bigger, mid-life career switch. Fourteen years later, Officer Wolf has never looked back.
“I still enjoy going to work. Days go by quick,” he said.
His boss did, and when Officer Wolf approached him about the book, Chief Byron Roberson saw it as a great way to reach young minds.
“Trying to make them understand we’re their friends, more than we’re their enemies. So, this is a great way to bridge that gap,” Chief Roberson said.
Bridging that gap with a book Officer Wolf hopes is still around for children even long after he’s made a final career change one day: Retirement.
“And hopefully keep an open mind about police and what they’re there to do,” he said.
Officer Wolf says his experiences may lead he and illustrator Ali Hombs to author future books. But for now, “There’s A Wolf in My School” is available on Amazon with 20% of proceeds benefitting Children’s Mercy Hospital.