Hanford police officers build playsets for children with special needs after theft

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With a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of hard work, Hanford police officers took pieces of plastic and turned them into playsets for local kids with special needs. (KFSN)

With a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of hard work, Hanford police officers took pieces of plastic and turned them into playsets for local kids with special needs.

"It's absolutely amazing," Hanford Police Officer Per Westlund said. "It is such a nice experience to be able to help out and not just chase bad guys and truly give back to the community."

Westlund is one of the officers who spent Friday morning off his beat and in the backyard of the United Cerebral Palsy, assembling two structures. Just two weeks earlier, a playset was stolen from UCP in Hanford -- something that moved officers into action.

"It's a good feeling," Hanford Police Officer Mark Carrillo said. "You see a lot of bad things on a daily basis. You can't fix them all, but this one needed to be fixed; this needed to be taken care of."

Carrillo was so upset by the burglary, he teamed up with the officers association to raise money, and the community jumped in.

"A lot of people jumped behind us," Carrillo said." Right when we started, calls were coming in, people were donating money. One woman came in and donated what she had, which was $2, and she said she felt bad about what happened."

Local leaders, banks and hardware stores also pitched in enough for two play structures and bark. UCP employees say they never dreamed of such a positive result.

"It's been so much fun watching them come out here and be a team together and having fun. We've been having fun with them and seeing the wonderful new playsets our kids are going to get to play on soon. All the teachers and staff are really looking forward to having their kids come out here and play on it," UCP family empowerment coordinator Jennifer Thornberg said.

The group even raised enough money to fund a new fence and put security measures in place to keep the equipment safe.

Once the weather cools down and the air quality improves, kids will be out there playing. UCP officials say these playsets will serve as a reminder of how the community came together to help them in their time of need.
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good newscommunitycrimetrackercrimebreak-intheftplaygrounddisabilityspecial needs childrenkings countyHanford
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