Pinole police deploy new strategy to comfort traumatized children

Pinole Police Officer Valencia is tasked with administering the Bears and Blankets program. (Photo credit: Pinole Police Department)

Pinole police now have a new passenger in their patrol cars: a stuffed animal. And the cuddly new partner will have an important role in the response to traumatic events in the city.

The police department announced it is implementing a “Bears and Blankets” program today, which has officers providing stuffed animals and blankets to children coping from a recent event such as a car accident or the arrest of a loved one.

“A gift of a stuffed animal can provide them with a level of comfort and also help build trust between youth and police officers,” police said. “Many times children have a misconception about the police. We do not ever want a child to be fearful of the police; we want them to learn at a young age that we are the ones who are here to help and protect them from harm. With this program we hope to bridge the gap between the youth and the police.”