Provincial police are hoping teddy bears can help kids who have been involved in a stressful or traumatic situation gain a sense of comfort and security.
On Tuesday, the OPP in partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police Association Credit Union, announced their province-wide community bear program.
In a news release, police said studies show that children who spend time holding a stuffed animal, feel calmer and safer. The community bear program provides these children with a teddy bear to help them cope with trauma.
This new partnership, which is funded by the OPP Youth Foundation, makes bears available across the province.
"As a mother, it breaks my heart to hear about innocent children who have fallen victim to a tragic circumstance," Insp. Mary Shannon, the commander of the OPP's Community Safety Services. "Community Bears provide an opportunity for officers to reassure and comfort our youngest victims, which begins the process of rebuilding their sense of safety and security."
Autumn Eadie, the OPP's regional media and communications officer for the Northwest, said each of OPP detachments participates.
“All the bears have been distributed around the region. OPP officers who have these bears, give them out at their discretion,” Eadie said. "The program is primarily for officers to give them to children following a stressful or traumatic situation.”
Funding for the Community Bear Program is administered by the OPP Youth Foundation, and OPP Community Safety Services (CSS) manages the distribution of bears to detachments across the province.