JEFFERSON PARISH, La (WGNO) - Deputy Turner Barran has collected over 300 teddy bears. Why? Because according to Barran, every cop car should have at least two to help children cope with stressful situations at crime scenes.
"Police officers get such a bad rap for being machines and impersonal. It's nice to make people realize that we're human too," Barran said.
Now, Barran and Karen Labarre-Birdsall are teaming up to make that possible.
"I met Karen through a medical emergency that her father had. He had fallen and hurt himself, and I was one of the first responders," Barran said.
Birdsall said she was taken aback by Barran's kindness.
"I see Deputy Turner coming down the hall of the ER with a 'get well' card, which blew me away," recalled Karen. "From here, he told me about his plans of putting teddy bears in all of the patrol cars, and we've rolled with it."
Teddy bears are proven to help calm children in situations of high stress.
"I deal with a lot of children that have domestic violence in their families or kids that have been involved in a car accident," said Barran, who handed out a teddy dressed as a policeman Tuesday to a child who had been in a car accident.
"It was something that I felt was easy enough to keep in the vehicle, and we could hand out to kids on calls that we go to."
They have about 70 bears left, and you can donate new or slightly used bears to their two drop off locations: Fleet Tire Service at 2301 Metairie Road and Restaurant des Familles at 7163 Barataria Blvd.