The Michigan State Police have been issued a new form of equipment to help child victims or witnesses of crimes. This new piece of equipment is a bit non-standard, however: it’s teddy bears. These big, fluffy stuffed animals are called Cuddle Bears, and police say they’re often indispensable when working with children.
“It allows us to at least start that healing process in little steps so our littlest people can get back to normal as quickly as possible,” State Trooper Corey Hebner told reporters.
A Michigan woman named Ashley Brown helped to raise the money to donate the Cuddle Bears to the Michigan State Police. According to Brown, the bears will be there for any children in need after witnessing or being victim to a crime.
The bears include a storybook that police can give to children. The hope, police tell reporters, is that the storybook and stuffed animal will help comfort the child after a traumatic experience.
“This book is about a little bear that is basically giving hugs to scared or lonely animals,” Brown told reporters. She helped raise over $500 to purchase the bears and books and then donated them to the Michigan State Police.
Brown’s husband is a state trooper, she told reporters, so this was massively important to her. She explained that she knows the world is often a scary place, so anything that can make children feel a bit better is well worth it. Now, some thirty-two Cuddle Bears have been placed in state patrol cars to help any kids in need.
Adorably enough, many troopers have the bears buckled up in the passenger seat now. The small teddy bears are now standing by to offer emotional support to any children who need them.
Crimes against children are on the decline, thankfully, so hopefully the bears won’t need to be used much. However, in the event that they are needed, trooper Hebner is hopeful that they’ll make a difference.
“It allows us to at least start that healing process in little steps so our littlest people can get back to normal as quickly as possible,” Hebner told reporters. He went on to mention that, with how crazy the world is, any little thing that can help a young victim or witness feel normal is invaluable.
Often, the difference between panic and calm can be as simple as a hug from a fuzzy stuffed animal.