Meet Officer ‘Twinkle Toes,’ a professional ballerina turned Columbus police officer


Across the nation the actions of police officers have been making news and sparking social unrest.

Tuesday afternoon, 23 new officers took the oath and are prepared to join the Columbus Police Department.

The start of their 10-week class was pushed back twice because of the COVID-19 crisis. The job that they were training to do was being questioned.

How strange was this class of Columbus Police recruits who took the oath to serve and protect Tuesday afternoon?

Let me introduce you to Officer Twinkle Toes — that’s what her instructors and classmates call Danielle Zins.

She  is a 26-year-old New York City professional ballet dancer turned cop. And she is following in the footsteps of her dad, Capt. Patrick Zins of the Fredericksburg, Va., Police Department.

“As an artist, Iwas accustomed to being a public servant and I knew that’s the role of law enforcement,” Danielle Zins. “To be a public servant, evoke good and to be selfless and do something bigger than yourself every day.”

Capt. Zins asked his daughter a tough question when she told him about trading her ballerina slippers for a gun and a purpose.

“Are you sure this is what you want to do after all the schooling you went to for dance?” he asked her. “I was very happy when she chose the profession.”

He has offered some advice.

“Learn from those who have been around a while and treat everybody like she would want to be treated,” he said.

Marline Wright is 32 years old and worked as a park ranger in Brooklyn, N.Y. She enters the job eyes wide open.

“We want to remain in the community and bring back that integrity and trust within the police department,” Wright said. “That’s why I joined. That’s a big thing for me. I love to be in the community doing community policing.”

Not all of the members of this class came from distant places. Darquis Brown, a 2012 Hardaway High School graduate said the reason he took the job was fairly simple.

“I know who I am as a person, and the people who know me best, know me well, know that I am here to serve for good in the community,” Brown said.

The class normally takes 10 weeks to complete. This class crammed the course into eight weeks, working Saturdays and extended days. After about six more weeks of training this class will be on the streets of Columbus. There are currently about 440 officers, 60 down from the allotted force of 500,

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