Muncie cops go shopping for community toy box

Muncie Police officers are handing out more than just citations. In an effort to promote positive relationships between children and police officers, Officer Chase Winkle came up with an idea.

“About a month ago we started a community basket, and with a simple Facebook post, we raised over a thousand dollars and went and bought gifts to hand out to the kids on calls,” Winkle said.

Just like that, Winkle began handing out toys to children in the community. Children like the daughters of Taylee Nelson, who were shaken up during a domestic dispute.

“We had someone kick in our back door and it was very scary for the kids,” Nelson said. “He (Winkle) showed up and got the situation under control and later on he brought the kids a couple of coloring books and a game and it really changed the situation for them.”

Nelson said the situation helped her children feel more comfortable with the officers. It’s because of this positive interaction that she and her girls gave back to the cause that helped them in their time of need.

“We had a bunch of things left over from Christmas; doubles or things that the kids didn’t need,” said Nelson. “We picked some things up at the store and the girls made a card with candy and we took it to the station for Officer Winkle to help out other kids.”

The practice has been picked up by others in the department. Officer Sarah Mench joined Winkle this week to fill a bin of her own so that she too can hand out gifts to kids she meets on the job.

“The idea has picked up momentum with donations,” Mench said. “I personally have liked helping children in the community and they folded me into the project.

With over a thousand dollars received in donations the past two months, Winkle hopes that this is a project that they will be able to continue well into the future.

“I think the whole shift will buy in. It’s great to give gifts out, and the baskets empty pretty quick,” Winkle said.

If interested in donating, contributions can be sent to the Muncie City Hall.

Contact Emerson Lehmann with comments at or on Twitter at @bille_IV.


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