Tables were filled with toys, coloring books and blankets earlier this month when more than 50 Unum employees volunteered their time to fill 550 backpacks for the Chattanooga Cops Care program.
Cops Care is a new program unique to the Chattanooga Police Department (CPD). It provides police officers with activity bags they can keep in their vehicles to give to children in the community. In many cases, children can spend several hours in police custody during domestic calls and these bags provide comfort and engagement during traumatic times of crisis.
Unum and the CPD consulted with Becky Haas, an internationally recognized implementer of trauma informed care and experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences trainer, to select items that can occupy and calm a child as well as reduce their trauma.
When children experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), it disrupts a child’s brain-building process and can make it more difficult for them to succeed in school and live a healthy life. The Cops Care program helps provide comfort to children during these traumatic experiences and lessen the impact these ACEs may have on them.
Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy explained the significance of these bags.
“Using the toys and items that are contained in this bag, if one of our police officers experiences a young child that has witnessed, been connected to or been around some type of traumatic event, these things can help distract the child and help move the child away from those feelings of immediate peril and trauma,” said Chief Roddy.
Lisa Iglesias, executive vice president and general counsel, spoke to the CPD officers last week when she and Unum’s Corporate Social Responsibility team presented the Cops Care bags.
“We are honored to support Cops Care as part of our Healthier Communities program,” said Lisa. “We’re taking a concentrated interest in mental and behavioral health, specifically to support youth with early intervention resources, and know that this partnership will help decrease the negative impacts of traumatic experiences for children across Chattanooga.”