The Bordentown City and Township Police Departments will soon be on duty with a new kind of helpful companion in their patrol vehicles —thanks to part of an initiative effort from the local chapter of the Telephone Pioneers of America.
With the donation of 25 handmade teddy bears to each police department, the local organization recently teamed up with Bordentown officers for them to use when they’re on-duty in instances where youths are involved.
The Telephone Pioneers of America is a non-profit charitable organization with more than 600,000 members nationwide, consisted of active and retired employees in the telecommunications industry.
Funded through company sponsors and public charitable donations, the organization’s volunteers aim to lend a hand to meet the individual needs of their communities.
For Bordentown Township Police Chief, Brian Pesce, he said the teddy bear donations from the local chapter of the organization will serve as a way to help further reach out on different levels in the community.
“We were excited to receive them because they’re great to use when we deal with young kids,” Pesce said. “Unfortunately, the police – we often interact with people at the worst of times.
“There’s a lot of traumatic incidents that could be an accident or domestic violence, an assault, a fire or anything like that where there’s often kids involved, and they could be fearful of police because we’re that authoritative figure,” he said. “So, if there’s a way we can bridge that gap with a little bit of an ice-breaker to help comfort kids in those unfortunate incidents, there’s nothing more comforting than a teddy bear.”
The recent donations come as part of an effort from the police departments to branch out and team up with local organizations in Bordentown. The idea was brought forth by Mary Ann Goodrich, a member of the local Telephone Pioneers of America, who wanted to find a way to not only assist local law enforcement, but more so help local youths as well.
As a township resident herself, Goodrich felt the initiative would be a good fit with the Bordentown police.
“Our goal is to get them to all the local police departments in our area,” Goodrich said. “I raised my family [in Bordentown], and I’d like to be able to help when there’s an accident. Children today often see domestic violence, and they find comfort in hugging that bear.
“Bordentown is a great place to live. The people care about each other. If there’s some way we can help a child, that’s what we’re going to do,” she added.
Goodrich explained that the action of handing out the teddy bears to local officials is beneficial to the community and person involved, but the giving act serves as a moral benefit to the members in her organization as well.
“If I’m sitting, watching TV at night and stuffing bears – sewing the bottoms closed, it’s rewarding to me as it is to all of the people that I work with,” she said.
Now that the police departments have the teddy bears on-hand for their day-to-day duties, Pesce said that the partnership with the local Telephone Pioneers of America will further solidify law enforcement’s relationship with residents.
Rather than drawing a line between authority and citizens, the township police chief felt the teddy bears were a great example as to how residents and police can work together.
“It’s another representation of the bonds we’re trying to make with different types of groups in our community,” he said. “It represents how the community helps us and how we help them. This is an instance of a local community group that’s donating something that we can use in our daily duties to then turn back and help the community. It’s a good partnership that’s going to benefit our young kids to help break down those authoritative bonds between us and young children in order to get them to open up and see us in a different light.”