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Security blankets

Gifts from civic group offers comfort at crime scenes

Stockbridge resident Mary Ann Hawkins (left) and McDonough resident Marcia Vincent make a blanket for the Jonesboro Police Department Thursday. Hawkins and Vincent are members of the Augustin Clayton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which makes blankets for police officers to give to children.

Stockbridge resident Mary Ann Hawkins (left) and McDonough resident Marcia Vincent make a blanket for the Jonesboro Police Department Thursday. Hawkins and Vincent are members of the Augustin Clayton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which makes blankets for police officers to give to children.

— A young, wailing child clutched a blanket made by members of the Daughters of American Revolution and found comfort in the midst of a shooting scene last summer.

Jonesboro Police Chief Franklin Allen said his officers were investigating an accidental shooting at the Keystone Apartments complex and they needed to interview the child’s mother.

But the screaming child was making it hard for the officers and the mother to concentrate during the interview. The little girl was upset by the commotion created by police coming and going from her family’s apartment.

“One of our officers the child a blanket and it basically served as a surrogate teddy bear,” Franklin said. “It calmed her down until we could finish talking to the mother.”

The Augustin Clayton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution donated a dozen new handmade blankets to the Jonesboro Police Department Thursday. For years, the chapter has been making blankets for police officers to give children they encounter at crime scenes as a way of comforting the youths.

Occasionally, the chapter gave its blankets to the Clayton County Police Department but more often than not, they have gone to Jonesboro police.

“It’s one way we feel like we can give back to the community,” said Janet Sterling, president of the Augustin Clayton Chapter.

Chapter members make a small party out of the blanket-making process. They hold workshops where members bring their fabric and a pair of scissors. They lay two large square pieces of fabric on top of each other and cut slits a long the edges.

The woman then tie the strips created by those slits together to create frilly edges.

“It’s a fun time for us to get together to do the blankets and we feel like it helps the community,” Sterling said.

Each officer keeps a couple of blankets in their patrol cars and Lt. Tony Lumpkin keeps the remaining blankets in his office.

“As they hand out the blankets to children they encounter at crime scenes, I give them a new blanket to keep in their car,” Lumpkin said.