Milwaukee police officers receive backpacks with books to help comfort kids during traumatic incidents

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A book program with the Milwaukee Police Department is helping to distract kids on the scene of crises.

"We will be able to bring comfort to children," Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said.

Two-hundred-and-four REACH backpacks are being given to Milwaukee police officers to keep in the back of their squad cars.

"Seeing some of the uptick in unfortunately conflict issues or domestic situations, we know that unfortunately, children are a part of that incident," Chief Norman said.

This is another way to reassure kids in stressful situations.

"The child is there and probably having the worst day of his or her life," Curt Fuszard, with REACH-A-Child, said.

Each officer will keep one of these book bags inside their squad car. When they arrive to the scene, they will take out one book and one drawstring backpack and hand it to every child on the scene.

"They read it together. The child gets to keep the book and backpack. Of course, during this time, the other officers on the scene are addressing whatever the issue is," Fuszard said.

The REACH bags are a part of the REACH-A-Child Program, thanks to an $11,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation. Whether it's a homicide, house fire or accident, the goal is to redirect the child's attention from the crisis at hand.

"We've been doing this for 15 years. Our mission is to provide these resources to every first responder vehicle in Wisconsin," Fuszard said.

The program currently supports 300 departments across the state.

"We've always provided books. We just think they're a tremendous resource," Fuszard said.

The Milwaukee Police Department is also receiving another 1,000 books to help replenish the bags for the future.

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