Employees from Bank of America in Jacksonville, pictured here
with Lt. Bill Leeper, donate hundreds of stuffed animals to
FHP troopers to give out to children involved in traffic crashes.
Troopers have been carrying around stuffed toys for children in the trunks of their patrol cars for several years thanks to the generosity of dozens of charities and individuals from all across Florida who donate them to FHP for the important purpose of consoling children in need of comfort.
Troopers use the donated teddy bears, which they call Care Bears, and other plush toys in the event they respond to a traffic crash involving a child. Often times, a simple little stuffed animal can calm a child who has just been traumatized by a crash or is scared because their parent, who may also be upset, has been pulled over for a traffic law violation. “It [the teddy bear] calms the child down, but it can also change the image that the violator has of the state trooper,” according to Lt. Pat Santangelo (Turnpike).
Trooper Debra Attaway-Teague accepts bunches of teddy bears
donated by members of ABATE. Pictured are: Jim Bradley, Vice President
of the Three Rivers Chapter, his wife, and another member.
Whenever a child is involved, whether as a witness to a domestic violence incident, as a victim of a traffic accident, or as a member of a family whose vehicle has broken down on the side of the road, the experience can be traumatic. Anything a trooper can do to minimize that trauma for the child is a good thing!