Law enforcement get gifts for a brighter future
Small children in the middle of a traumatic situation is something local law enforcement officers see all the time but one group is working with police and sheriff’s deputies to comfort them.
The Lewiston Elks Lodge mission is to help all community members, even the youngest ones. The Elks donated more than 100 blankets Wednesday, they call snugglies for police to comfort children when they need them most.
"We'll put them in the patrol cars, usually the patrol cars carry two or three of these,” said LPD Chief Budd Hurd.
The Lewiston Elks Lodge is donating 40 snugglies each to Lewiston Police, Idaho State Police, and the Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office.
"They can give a child one of these that they can wrap up in,” said Michaele Shellhorn, Lewiston Elks Lodge member. “It's like a security blanket."
It’s for traumatic situations with police.
"A lot of times when we go to domestic violence calls or someplace like traffic accidents, places where children are upset, it gives them a little bit of comfort,” Hurd said.
Police said the reaction from kids is heartwarming.
"It literally just, you can see it. It lifts their spirits. It gives them something to concentrate on and not what's going on around them,” said Hurd.
Michaele Shellhorn, with the Lewiston Elks, said the 50 by 60-inch fleece blankets are for more than just comfort at a traumatic scene.
"They're going through a hard time depending on what the situation is,” Shellhorn said. “It's traumatic for them, they're dealing with strangers. This is a way for an officer to contribute something that's a positive."
Chief Hurd says that impact can help a child’s future.
"When you can give that positive reinforcement that ‘hey we're not out here just to give people tickets and arrest people, we do do a lot of other things that a lot of times go unnoticed,” Hurd said.
"Our children are our future,” said Shellhorn. “Our children need to know that our police officers aren't there as bad guys. They are somebody to turn to when you need them.”
Shellhorn said the next time around she hopes to include all valley law enforcement agencies on both sides of the river.