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OPP launches community bear program with help from Huntsville students

When provincial police officers see a child who has been involved in a stressful or traumatic situation, they’re now better equipped to help them.

Police officials say the OPP Community Bear can “help them regain a sense of calmness and security.”

They say that studies show that kids who spent time holding a stuffed animal tend to feel “calmer and more secure” and add that teddy bears can help children cope with psychological trauma.

The Ontario Provincial Police Association Credit Union has partnered with the OPP to distribute the bears to detachments throughout Ontario.

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“As a mother, it breaks my heart to hear about innocent children who have fallen victim to a tragic circumstance,” says Insp. Mary Shannon, Commander of CSS. “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.”

Students from Huntsville Public School were on-hand at the OPP’s General Headquarters in Orillia on Nov. 18 to help launch the program. Officials say they later visited the OPP Museum and other parts of the provincial police’s headquarters. Officials say the highlight was when the students visited the OPP’s canine handlers and their four-legged partners.

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