FRANKFORT – (KT) With Black Friday coming up this week, the Kentucky State Police hope shoppers will include a Trooper Teddy Bear on their Christmas list this year.
KSP Sgt. Billy Gregory says the “Trooper Teddy” Project is designed to develop trust between officers and children by providing teddy bears to children in traumatic situations such as a car crash, exposure to drugs, or domestic abuse cases, all of which can result in the arrest of a parent.
“Often times, we are meeting these children on their worst day,” he said. “Whether they are scared or nervous from the circumstance they are dealing with, the bear seems to immediately resonate with them. That connection builds trust and opens the door to communication between the child and the trooper.”
Gregory says the program does not utilize state dollars and relies solely on donations and the sale of bears to sustain it.
“Annually, we host a bear sale on Black Friday and then again on Valentine’s Day to raise money for the project,” saidGregory. “We also accept general tax-exempt monetary donations to the project. We remain humbled by the public support for this project. It’s absolutely heart-warming to see the way Kentuckians respond.”
The bears go on sale Thanksgiving night at 6 p.m. and will sell for $15 plus shipping through the holiday weekend. Those who buy the bear have the option to pick it up their bear for free at KSP Headquarters in Frankfort or at any KSP Post.
The Trooper Teddy Bear Project began in December 1989, after Kentucky first lady Martha Wilkinson hosted a gala fundraiser at Red Mile Racecourse earlier that summer. The black-tie event raised the needed funds to purchase 2,000 Trooper Teddy Bears. The first allotment of bears included a personal note on each stuffed animal from Mrs. Wilkinson.
For those interested in purchasing a bear or making a tax-deductible contribution to the project, citizens should visit https://trooperteddy.square.site/s/shop. You can also buy a bear by going to ebay.com and typing “Trooper Teddy” in the search box.
(By Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)