When I heard that some Dayton police officers were armed with stuffed animals I had to know more.
I called Officer Dyan Thomas. In 2009 she became the first female assigned to patrol duties as a Dayton police motorcycle officer. Dyan rode up to me, dismounted, opened one of her saddlebags and pulled out her stuffed bunny
“I am a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church” Dyan explained. “The church asked what they could do to support the Dayton police and we came up with the idea of stuffed animals. They donated lots of stuffed animals, and then others did the same. There are now enough for every police motorcycle and cruiser.”
“Imagine any type of incident involving a family with a young child – things like a traffic accident or a domestic dispute of some kind. The adults are upset, which causes the child to be upset and even to cry, which causes the adults to be even more upset. When the police officer hands a stuffed animal to a child, the child is distracted. The child stops crying and focuses on the new toy. That relaxes the adults, and everything settles down.”
I think Dayton is lucky to have Officer Dyan Thomas on the job.