ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office is handing out stuffed teddy bears to their patrol units for children who are stressed out during a situation where police are called to.

Det. Lt. David Spencer said in the past, deputies used their own money to purchase stuffed animals and keep them in the trunk of their cars.

The sheriff’s office took influence from Deputy Turner Barran of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office who started a teddy bear program for these types of situations. The bears cost about six bucks a piece.

“They are money well spent when you see those kids and how it changes them and calms them down on a scene. It is well worth it,” said Spencer.

Spencer said programs like this helps build trust between the community and law enforcement which is something every agency strives to attain.

“I think in the past police departments have done things like this. Cops have a tendency to have big hearts, but we haven’t always let people see that side of it. Now with social media people can see there is a lot going on with law enforcement,” said Spencer.

The St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office said this program is one more step into making sure the people of the parish are safe, especially the children.