Kentucky State Police are hosting an annual Black Friday sale to raise funds for the Trooper Teddy Bear program, which is designed to develop trust between law enforcement and children. The bears go on sale Thanksgiving Day at 8 a.m. for $15, the sale will end at midnight Friday.
All proceeds from the sale will benefit the outreach program, allowing 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,” says 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.”
In 2018, Hannah Dysinger was a survivor of the Marshall County High School shooting. She was transported to the hospital for a gunshot wound and hours after the incident, and while still receiving care from the hospital, law enforcement officers, including a KSP detective, interviewed Dysinger and gathered evidence.
Following 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,” said Dysinger. “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 an ongoing national pandemic. 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 Spokesperson 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 purchase two additional bears.
“I think it’s definitely valuable. I’ve kept mine for nearly four years, and it’s still important to me,” said Dysinger.
The Trooper Teddy Project does not utilize 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.
For those interested in purchasing a bear or making a tax-deductible contribution to the project, citizens should visit the Trooper Teddy website.