JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A local business decided to help law enforcement care for the children of Region 8.
Chief Rick Elliot of the Jonesboro Police Department said they recently were given a valuable donation by Pet Smart in Jonesboro.
"Our local Pet Smart donated several large bags of stuffed animals," Elliot said. "They are for the police department for our officers to give out to kids when we have encounters. Sometimes these officers arrive on scenes, accident scenes, and they may involve children. And they're able to give a stuffed animal to them. A comfort toy in that crisis. Being involved in a motor vehicle accident for kids can be traumatic sometimes. And if you have something fuzzy and soft and warm to hang onto it could give them a little comfort. The same thing if they go to a situation at a residence and there's something going on at the house. A little gesture on our behalf to give a small child goes a long way."
Chief Elliott said they've been doing this program for a while.
"We've been doing this program for years," Chief Elliot said. "We've had donations in the past from different organizations of stuffed animals over a period of time. So, officers try to keep a few in their car at a time and when they run out they'll come back and get some more. But also, if anybody in the community has a child that needs a stuffed animal they can stop by here and we'd be glad to give them one if they can't afford it, otherwise."
Elliott said you can see the difference in the child's behavior when they're given something to hold.
"When you're dealing with kids that are in a bad situation," Elliot said. "You can see the change and the look on their face. This is something that refocuses their attention on the animal instead of the situation. Situation still may be bad, but this gives them a little bit of comfort and something to hang onto and cuddle during that time."
Elliott said he couldn't begin to express how grateful he and all the officers are to Pet Smart for their generous donation.
"We are so proud that Pet Smart took donations," Elliot said. "They did it over a period of time. Customers coming in made donations and then they purchased these stuffed animals. They brought them up here the other day so we could start passing them out as needed."
For more information about the Jonesboro Police Department, click here.