SULLIVAN, Ill. (WAND) — He may love his teddy bears, but deputy John Love isn't a softie.
"I probably still have one or two [from my youth] around just in case I need it," Love said with a chuckle.
Even around 40 years in law enforcement haven't hardened his heart. He's been a police chief — twice — and is now in his second stint as a county deputy, this time in Moultrie County.
"I actually got out of it for a year or so," he said. "[I] couldn't stand [retirement]."
The Moultrie County courthouse is probably one of the last places you would expect to see a toy shop. But that's exactly what Love set up at the security checkpoint he mans.
"Sometimes there will be children that come in one at a time with their parent," Love said. "Sometimes three to four children will come in."
When kids tag along with their parents to go to court or to just visit a public office, Love or another security officer will give them their pick of a new, cuddly best friend.
"This is my passion," Love said. "It's always been my passion. The biggest thing I like about law enforcement is helping kids and I've made that the biggest part of my career."
If you would like to donate a stuffed animal or contribute monetary help, contact Love at the Moutrie County courthouse.