Woman using teddy bears to help Fresno police with young victims

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For Fresno Police, no day is routine. At the start of each shift, officers make sure their units are packed for any type of call.

But it's an unexpected and adorable piece of cargo that's changing lives for Fresno's youngest victims.

Teddy Bears made by Levota Misner.

"If the first responding officer goes to a crime of domestic violence or sexual assault and we have children that are present, he or she can go ahead and take those out," said Lt. Bill Dooley.

Misner has made thousands of Teddy Bears for the Fresno Police Department.

Lt. Dooley said, "She specifically makes them for the victims of domestic violence or the witnesses to any of these particular crimes. Just to give them something to hold onto, something to talk to, something to maybe listen to them while they're being interviewed by the detectives or while they're going through the process."

Preparing her latest delivery for the Fresno Police Department, Misner says her efforts come from a place of empathy.

She says, "If a police officer can give them a bear, it helps them settle down. It gives them something to love and hold. Because I came from a family of alcoholics, I know what it was like to live in that type of environment."

Mrs. Misner started making bears eight years ago, initially donating them to Salvation Army for children in need. Then she realized she could turn her talents into a way to help children like her.

Her "labor of love" has boasted thousands of teddy bears for the Fresno Police Department over the last three years but she's still unsure of an exact count.

Misner says, "I have no idea. I sit down at my sewing machine and I say, 'Please, sewing machine. Don't die on me because it's really old.' I've sewn thousands of miles on my sewing machine and if it dies on me, I'm in serious trouble. "

Misner says the bears are made from donated fabric, each yard can make up to three bears.

You can donate fabric to help continue Levota's labor of love. Fabric can be dropped off at Fresno Police Headquarters Mon-Fri from 7:30 am to 2 pm with Crime Analyst Maeketah Rivera.
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