The Kentucky State Police will be having its annual Black Friday sale Thanksgiving Day and Friday to raise funds for the Trooper Teddy Bear program, which is designed to develop trust between law enforcement and children.
All proceeds from the sale will benefit the Trooper Teddy outreach program, which allows troopers to provide teddy bears to children who have been in traumatic situations, such as car crashes, child sexual abuse cases or dealing with a terminal illness.
“As a trooper, it tugs at your heart to see a child visibly upset and shaken,” said KSP Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr. “These children are often innocent victims of a crime and giving a bear to them provides comfort while building much needed trust.”
One example is Hannah Dysinger, who was a survivor of the 2018 Marshall County High School shooting. She was taken to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound and hours after the incident, and while still receiving care at the hospital, law enforcement officers, including a KSP detective, interviewed her and gathered evidence.
After that traumatic day, Dysinger and the KSP detective saw each other in court and began to build a rapport. Months later the detective surprised Dysinger with a Trooper Teddy.
“My bear means so much to me and symbolizes that the situation wasn’t entirely traumatic while still providing me with a child-like comfort that I needed after the shooting,” Dysinger said. “It gave me something to hold on to.”
In 2020, the Trooper Teddy Black Friday sale raised $1,035 during a shopping season challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, so the agency hopes to top that figure this year.
“Our troopers continue to be humbled by the support this program receives from citizens across the country,” said KSP spokesman Capt. Paul Blanton. “We hope that Trooper Teddy’s will show up under Christmas trees in Kentucky and beyond.”
The profit from the sale of one bear allows the agency to buy two additional bears.
“I think it’s definitely valuable. I’ve kept mine for nearly four years, and it’s still important to me,” Dysinger said.
The Trooper Teddy Project does not use state dollars and relies solely on donations and the sale of bears to sustain it. Buyers have the option to pick up the bear for free at KSP Headquarters in Frankfort or any KSP Post.
The bears go on sale Thanksgiving Day at 8 a.m. for $15. The sale ends at midnight Nov. 26.
For those interested in buying a bear or making a tax-deductible contribution to the project, visit the Trooper Teddy website, https://trooperteddy.square.site/.