When Davis County paramedics and sheriff's deputies hit the streets these days they're more than armed for bear; they're armed with bears.

The Young Woman's Association of the West Point Stake in Davis County last week donated 100 teddy bears to the Davis County Sheriff's Office to be carried in patrol cars and paramedic units.The bears will be given to children involved in accidents and other traumatic incidents to focus their attention on something positive rather than the trauma of their situation, said Capt. K.D. Simpson, patrol commander for the sheriff's office.

The teddy bear idea is becoming widespread in law enforcement. Davis County joins several other Utah law enforcement agencies, including the Salt Lake Police Department, in carrying teddy bears.

Annice Nixon and Mickey Adams of West Point approached the sheriff's department in early October about the idea, Simpson said, and presented the deputies and paramedics with 100 bears last week.

The young women in the association spent hours making the bears and each one has a sticker on it with the name of the person who made it.

Simpson said 45 percent of the calls for service by the department paramedics involve children, in many cases as patients requiring special attention. In other cases, from auto accidents to domestic violence, children are either witnesses or innocent victims, Simpson said.

"No matter what the circumstances, children are affected by tragedy and violence and anything that can be done to reduce the trauma of their encounter is worthwhile," Simpson said.

"Pediatric calls are by far the most difficult cases for paramedics to work because of the vulnerability of the patient and the empathy created between the paramedic and the patient.

"Paramedics tend to relate to children more often, especially if they have children about the same age as their patient," Simpson said.