Long Beach : In a Crisis? Have a Teddy

Which of the following does not appear to belong with the others: gun, badge, handcuffs, teddy bear.

Now, they all do. As of Wednesday, hundreds of Long Beach police officers carry little teddy bears for children traumatized in an accident or other incident.

The brown furry bears tucked in the trunks of black-and-white cruisers are a gift from Assisteens, a group of young women who work with the Assistance League of Long Beach, police spokeswoman Pam Davidson said.

The teddy bears "open up a new avenue for us to reach the kids," Davidson said. To children, "cops notoriously look huge in uniform." But a teddy bear can help lessen fears and can comfort in an emergency such as a fire.

"If you see this cop walking up to you with a teddy bear, they're your friend--and your buddy," Davidson said. "Then they're more than someone who gives tickets and reprimands you. They're there to help you."

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