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story.lead_photo.caption North Little Rock police Sgt. Brian Dedrick hands out a Valentine's Day stuffed toy and card Friday at Northridge Healthcare And Rehabilitation Friday. - Photo by Gavin Lesnick

North Little Rock police officers offered some Valentine's Day love to residents of a local nursing home, handing out more than 100 stuffed animals and cards at Northridge Healthcare And Rehabilitation.

Several officers, including Chief Mike Davis, took to the center's halls, greeting residents with warm Valentine's Day wishes and passing out stuffed teddy bears, lions, dogs and even a frog that played Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" when squeezed.

Officer Tommy Norman, who helped organize the effort, said it was a good way to reach out and develop a relationship with the residents. Police have a number of programs aimed at connecting with younger members of the community but few that target the elderly.

"Usually people see us putting handcuffs on people or having people stopped for a traffic violation, but today we want to show the community we love and we care," he added. "We have the gun and the badge, but we also like to show we have a heart."

The residents at the facility seemed to appreciate the gesture, with many warmly embracing the gifts or offering the officers a hug in return. Among them was 66-year-old Anne Gonterman, who said she appreciated the officers' thinking of the center's residents and liked her new white teddy bear.

"I think it was a very kind and gentle thing for them to do," she said. "And it was very sweet of [them] to come and think of us in this place. We're missing our families and our friends, so this means a lot."

Police surprise nursing home residents with Valentine's Day gifts

Several North Little Rock police officers handed out stuff animals and cards to residents of a local nursing home Friday. (By Gavin Lesnick)
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