Bears On The Beat in Leadville Today
When an emergency responder arrives on the scene of an accident or domestic violence situation, the presence of a child immediately brings a heightened level of awareness. Fortunately, a local campaign is underway to help ease the fears and tears of Leadville’s smallest, most vulnerable residents.
Thanks to coordinated efforts from several community organizations the Bears On The Beat program is coming to Lake County. Spearheaded by Francine Webber, events manager at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, a teddy bear donation drive is underway to benefit children who become involved with local police officers during scary and traumatic situations. The stuffed animals will be carried in officer’s cruisers and can be given out to provide comfort to children in stressful situations such as vehicular accidents, domestic violence, child abuse, fires, and enforcement stops.
Webber became aware the Leadville Police Chief Robert Glenny was intending to write a grant to purchase a stock of teddy bears to implement the program in Leadville. Glenny had experience with a similar teddy bear program at a prior post, however budgetary constraints ended those efforts. And while the LPD did not have the funds to move forward with the program, when Webber learned Chief Glenny was intending to write a grant to bring the Bears On The Beat to Leadville, she reached out, asking the Chief to hold off on writing that grant.
“I thought it sounded like a great program, knew my friends would donate a bear, and just felt if we asked our community for donations, they would respond,” stated Webber. Shortly thereafter, she discovered Eastern Star, had previously provided stuffed animals to the department for a similar program, and she began coordinating efforts for the Leadville Bears On The Beat Program. For those who may be unfamiliar, Eastern Star is one of the oldest non-profits in the state, located right here in Leadville. Webber hopes the community will follow their lead.
“This is an easy way, as a community, we can support our officers and provide them with a simple yet effective tool to utilize when interacting with children in distress,” she stated.
From there, the efforts have come together through grass-roots efforts and now include participation from other groups, including the local college students.
“A child gets to take home a permanent friend and has had a positive interaction with an officer. That’s a win for all of us,” stated Leadville Police Chief Glenny.
The Bears on the Beat drive is a combined effort of Eastern Star, Lake County Assessor’s Office, Leadville Police Department, and the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum. New teddy bears or other cuddly stuffed animals may be dropped off at the police department, the county assessor’s office, the mining museum, or by contacting Betty Roeder of Eastern Star at 719-486-1222. The drive will continue through May 30.