In a world that can seem so dark, Jefferson Parish Deputy Turner Barran is trying to spread a little cheer. His act of kindness is spreading to law enforcement agencies across the state.
400 stuffed animals are ready to hit the streets with deputies and provide comfort for children in need. It all started with one teddy bear and one idea.
"This was donated by a little girl named Tatum. She's seven years old,” Barran said. “It sits in my patrol vehicle every shift with me and she comes and checks on him pretty routinely."
The gift set off a chain reaction, inspiring Deputy Barran to start collecting stuffed animals to bring with him to the scene of domestic violence incidents.
"It not only consoled children but took them away from the trauma of dealing with what mom and dad are dealing with,” Barran said.
The idea spread from there. Now only a year after Barran began collecting stuffed animals, every Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle is stocked with stuffed animals and that list is growing to agencies all across the state.
"It's grown so immensely that we've been able to use it for just about any call a kid is involved in whether it’s an accident, medical call or a crime scene,” Barran said.
Deputies see the worst every day, but say responding to calls involving children never gets any easier.
"It certainty hits the heartstrings, as a father myself, seeing kids in traumatic situations it is more difficult yes,” Barran said.
Now they've found a way to give a little piece of comfort on the darkest days. All because of a teddy bear and a little girl.
"It's something I'll never forget,” Barran said.
If you'd like to donate gently used or new stuffed animals, you can drop them off at the Jefferson Parish Sheriff Office. For more information click here: https://www.facebook.com/Barransbears/