The Trooper Teddy Bear Project came to life in December of 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 concept of the program was for Troopers to provide stuffed animals to children during traumatic experiences such as a car crash, child or sexual abuse cases and also distribute to terminally ill children. The first allotment of bears included a personal note on each stuffed animal from First Lady Wilkinson. KSP partnered with the Indiana State Police with this effort and they too passed out Trooper Bears. The program ran out of funding in early 2000 until recently when KSP was able to utilize asset forfeiture funds from criminal drug activity to purchase additional bears. The agency plans to sustain the program by offering the bears for sale to the public.
Trooper Teddy Program
THE HISTORY OF TROOPER TEDDY
KSP and Trooper Teddy were able to bring relief to this child, and other victims of Hurricane Katrina.
How You Can Help
THE TROOPER TEDDY PROGRAM
When KSP troopers encounter young children, it is often part of a traumatic situation such as a car crash, drug or domestic abuse cases which sometimes result in the arrest of the parent. KSP hopes their ‘Trooper Teddy’ bears will serve as a tool to calm innocent children they find in these circumstances.
“When KSP is called to a scene, it’s not always a pleasant situation,” said KSP spokesman Lieutenant Michael Webb. “Unfortunately, there are many incidents where children are involved and witness scary things. To minimize the situation, we hope to provide children with a teddy bear to calm them down during these times.”
Webb says the ‘Trooper Teddy’ program has been around for some time but ran out of funding in recent years.
“Like many agencies we didn’t have the funds in our budget to purchase the bears but kept seeing a need for them,” notes Webb. “Our Operations Division was able to utilize asset forfeiture funds from seized assets in drug investigations to fund the purchase of the bears.”
The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture encompasses the seizure and forfeiture of assets that represent the proceeds of, or were used to facilitate federal crimes. The funds are restricted and can be used for qualifying expenditures toward enhancing public safety and security.
KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders said the program is designed to develop trust between officers and children.
“As a law enforcement officer, it tugs at your heart strings to arrive at a scene and see a child visibly upset and shaken,” says Sanders. “These children are often innocent victims of parents who may have violated the law, or in the middle of a domestic disturbance or worse. This small gesture provides comfort and builds trust between the officer and the child.”
MAKE A DONATION
The KSP Trooper Teddy Project is part of a non-profit program designed to aid children during stressful times. Tax-deductable contributions can be made to the Trooper Teddy Project.