Madison Co. Sheriff’s Dept. to carry books, toys for kids in crisis

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department will be bringing some new tools with them to handle emergencies: stuffed animals and children’s books. (WISH Photo)
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department will be bringing some new tools with them to handle emergencies: stuffed animals and children’s books. (WISH Photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — The Madison County Sheriff’s Department will be bringing some new tools with them to handle emergencies: stuffed animals and children’s books.

The sheriff’s team will give the items to kids affected by car crashes, fires and other tragedies. The idea is to distract and comfort kids whose families face a crisis.

A nonprofit called Books To The Rescue gave 30 bags full of supplies to the sheriff’s team Thursday morning. Every patrol car in the department is now stocked with books and stuffed animals.

Lt. John Owens found a spot for his bag in the trunk, right next to his police tape.

“This one here is on trains,” Owens said as he showed off the books. “We have one on castles.”

Owens said he’s lost track of how many families he’s helped after a car crash. He can’t count how many times domestic violence forced him to help remove a kid from a home.

He never had tools to comfort those kids. Until now.

“Children go into shock just like adults do,” Owens said. “To see a little reptile or a dinosaur or a train or even a stuffed animal, it will really relax the situation.”

Tamara Brusca is the Madison County Coordinator of Books To The Rescue. The nonprofit delivers the bags not just to police, but first responders across the country.

“We are so grateful to them and all they do for us, putting their lives on the line. We just want to be able to help them do their job and make certain parts of it easier,” Brusca said.

Inside the bags: stickers, little green monsters, nonfiction and fiction books. The bags contain books for boys and girls of all ages.

Owens plans on using them early and often.

“Then we go from being the big bad cop to, that’s a pretty cool guy bringing me a pretty cool tool,” Owens said.

Lucky for him, Books To The Rescue plans on restocking the bags when the department runs low.

The donation is sponsored by the Grainger Foundation and Advance Dental Care of Anderson. Usbourne Books and More matches every donation by 50 percent.

Books To The Rescue has posted information on how to donate to them on their website.