FALL RIVER, R.I. (WPRI) — It can be a tearful combination.
Children and crime scenes, domestic complaints or car accidents.
Liam Soares understands the dilemma since his father Roberto is a Fall River Police officer.
He is your typical 5-year-old, a bundle of energy who loves stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes and dinosaurs of certain breeds.
“Stegosaurus,” he said with a growl and a swipe through the air to demonstrate what they used their spiked tails for back in the day.
About three weeks ago, young Liam overheard his mom talking to his dad about how some of the children he sees on patrol get a little frightened when the police arrive.
“No,” Liam said when asked if kids should be afraid of police. “Goodness no!”
After thinking about the problem, Liam decided to take his life savings – about 50 bucks – and some contributions from others to buy a bundle of cuddly help for police and kids.
So far, the Soares have spent about $300 on stuffed animals, which are now deputized as “squad buddies,” that fill a bin at headquarters and ride with officers on patrol.
“They’re to give to the police officers when the kids are scared,” Liam said. “They will give them to the kids so they don’t get scared.”
Liam’s dad has already put the department’s new partners to work.
“The kids don’t want to talk to us at all,” he said. “They are so scared or too nervous, and it kind of broke the ice to know they can talk to us.”
His son holds up 10 fingers when asked how much longer he wants to recruit squad buddies.
His mother Dianne clarified his point.
“As [the officers] give them away, we want to fill that bin again,” she said. “I’m so proud of him. I thought he was going to beg me to keep these. He was just so excited to [give them to police.]”