By Leigh Barber
As a stark contrast to a slew of new Humvees, the Sarasota Police Department has recently received over 200 teddy bears. While this may seem strange, these cuddly plush toys are not for the officers. Instead, they are for children in tough situations that cops might encounter. Rod Khleif, founder and president of Tiny Hands Foundation, donated the bears to the police department in the hopes that it will improve the images of cops across Sarasota and Manatee county.
Each policeman and woman will be given one teddy bear that they will keep safe in their patrol cars and give it away to a distressed child. This project has been named the “Teddy Bear Brigade” and the “comfort bears” will hopefully build some much needed trust between the police and a new generation.
Police Chief Bernadette DiPino wants children in the community to know she and her staff are here to help the kids when they find themselves in trouble. Khleif and DiPino both agree that if just one of the teddy bears comforts, consoles or eases the pain of one child, then they will have reached their goal.
There are plans to donate more teddy bears to Bradenton Police Department. The Tiny Hands Foundation also plans to continue to replenish the bears as needed.
Info taken from: www.sarasotapd.org