A little distraction can go a long way toward calming a child victim or witness, as well as toward building rapport with police.
Al Warnock, a retired South Dakota police chief who moved to Montrose about five years ago, recently donated several wooden toy cars to the Montrose Police Department to be given to kids who are involved in police encounters as victims or witnesses.
Warnock, who was a police officer for 22 years, said he got the idea from a similar program in South Dakota.
“I just decided I would try it here,” he said. “It’s an attention diversion. They’ve got a toy to play with. They can try to escape the bad part of whatever is going on,” Warnock said.
Warnock recently delivered 18 handmade wooden cars to the MPD for distribution.
“I think any time we have donations that we can actually personally give out to our kids, it always helps build rapport within the situation that we’re called to,” Police Chief Blaine Hall said.
“We plan on giving those out, probably during situations where kids have seen some things that probably aren’t the best. It will be a way for us to lift their spirits. That’s a really nice thing of Al to do and we appreciate it.”
Warnock spends about 20 to 30 minutes making each car and said he is making more that might go to another agency.
“If it can help a police officer get through a rough day and help kids, then it’s worth it,” he said.