OFFICERS BUILD RAPPORT WITH TEDDY BEARS

December 11, 2000 11:00 pm

By Todd Wels

Triplicate staff writer

Two Crescent City police officers roamed the city Friday afternoon, looking for children.

They werent looking to get the children in trouble, though. In fact, each one had a teddy bear and a smile for the small children they encountered.

The bears were donated by area stores, and Officer Roger Chindgren said they will be going to a good cause.

Its just to build a little rapport with kids, he said, standing outside the Totem Villa Apartment Complex. A lot of times when we come out its for enforcement reasons.

Officer Greg Johnson said childrens perceptions of the police have changed greatly in recent years, with some children actually afraid of the police.

He said changing images of the police in the media may be to blame, as well as the fact that many times police are only seen when they are arresting someone.

Its kind of nice to be able to come out here and do this, Johnson said, handing a stuffed bear to a little girl.

A young boy named Troy received a small white teddy bear from Johnson and Chindgren.

He then wrapped it in a ferocious bear hug.

I love bears, Troy said.

When asked whether he liked the police officers who gave it to him, he responded: Yeah, cause theyre nice.

For some of the children, the bears may have been the only gift they got this year.

Theres so many kids that dont have that part of Christmas, he said, noting the large amount of poverty in the area.

Still, not every one of the children were Christmas angels after receiving the bears.

As Johnson drove toward Totem Villa, he noticed a boy whod just received a teddy bear hitting his brother over the head with it.

Taking good care of em I see, he said with a grin.