Ever wondered what happens when law enforcement officers retire their uniforms? The wife of a Michigan police officer found a creative solution.
The Kalkaska City Police Department had about 150 retired uniforms sitting in its basement when Lt. Artress asked his officers to get creative with repurposing. Officer Gray told his wife about the uniforms, and she immediately had an idea.
“It just kind of popped in my head — well why don’t we make teddy bears for children that need a little something extra special?” Eva Gray told WWTV.
The uniforms date back to the early 1990s, and almost every part is used in the making of a teddy bear: pants for the bodies, shirts for coats, buttons for eyes, sometimes even signature lines. The only part of the teddy bear that does not come from the retired uniform is the thread and stuffing, much of which has been donated by local community members.
Each bear takes about two and a half hours to make and, once completed, will be donated to children involved in critical incidents, such as car crashes or troubling family situations.
“In times of critical incidents, children become very upset and sometimes they can get the view that the police might be against them and we really want to make sure that they know the police are there to help,” Lt. Artress said.
Eva plans to make about 75 of the repurposed teddy bears. The department will keep two in the back of each patrol car so officers are ready and able to hand them out to kids in need.