The library was the safest place in town last week when Midlothian Police Commander Garland Wolf, K-9 Officer Kyle Boyd and police dog Sato visited story time.

I was impressed with how patiently both officers answered the children’s questions about police work and their equipment. Commander Wolf modeled his SWAT team vest and then allowed the kids to try it on, including me!

Wolf explained the vest weighed more than any of the children present, 40 pounds before it is filled with ammunition.

The SWAT team helmet, gas mask and other “weapons of protection” created a formidable presence. But, Commander Wolf was so personable; the children laughed at his jokes and listened carefully as he explained the rigorous physical standards officers must pass twice a year for their profession.

Sato stole the show, fascinating the listeners as he responded immediately to Officer Boyd’s commands spoken in German.

“Ferse, sitzen, festsetzen,” Boyd ordered, and Sato quit moving, sat quietly and then lay down.

The 75-pound German Shepherd is not only bilingual, but he is super smart, retrieving drugs planted by Officer Wolf while Sato and Officer Boyd were outside the library.

“Look for a sudden change in the dog’s behavior, like his hair or ears suddenly raised, because that is Sato’s cue to us that he smells the contraband,” Officer Boyd said.

He had to move fast to keep up with the focused dog, who was moving quickly through the moms, kids and books in the library. The canine detective did not pause until he had located and retrieved the illegal items, promptly receiving praise from Boyd and the rapt audience.

Sato lives with Boyd, sharing the home with the policeman’s wife and two other dogs and a cat.

“He is part of our family,” Boyd said, rubbing the dog’s head affectionately as he poured part of his own bottled water into the dog’s drinking bowl.

If only Sato could retrieve overdue library books and I could wear the SWAT vest when trying to reason with difficult library patrons, but such community treasures are best put to use helping our dedicated Midlothian police force keep our 56 square miles of home a safe place to live and read.

Susie Casstevens serves as the librarian for the AH Meadows Public and High School Library. Contact Susie at 972-775-3417 ext 1061 or visit the web at library.midlothian-isd.net