GREENWOOD, S.C. (WSPA) — Acting Greenwood Police Chief TJ Chaudoin is all about community policing, which is why he’s launched the department’s latest effort to garner community engagement. The department is asking for children’s help finding homes for its hundreds of stuffed animals.
The toys come with adoption certificates, candy and an opportunity to meet one of the department’s officers. They’re free for anyone; just show up to the headquarters, located at 520 Monument Street in Greenwood.
“I’ve seen actually a lot of happiness but also a lot of confusion, too,” Officer Jonathan Link said. “It’s kind of refreshing because it means we’re doing something that people don’t just expect.”
Chaudoin says the plush pets were given to the department by community and advocacy group donations. Officers usually have a stuffed animal or two in their cars for cases involving children. However, the station had hundreds of extras and Chaudoin wanted to find them new homes.
So far, the department estimates several dozen of the toys have found their new homes.
But for Chaudoin, the adopt-a-bear operation serves more than just bringing smiles: It brings families and their children in to meet the officers who work to protect them.
“I want people to know the Greenwood Police Department,” he said. “I have 53 officers. I want people to know those officers, to understand those officers and know who they are, feel free to come up and speak to them.”