Local law enforcement officers are joining together to provide holiday gifts for kids through the Carrollton Police Department’s annual Shop With A Cop program. Officers paired up to shop with children at two local retail stores yesterday and today.
“This is something we have done for many years, and continues to be something we look forward to doing every year,” said Chief Joel Richards. “Yesterday was the first year we’ve had a day solely devoted to having Shop With A Cop for special needs kids, and today will be our traditional event in which we will go shopping with local children who have been victims of, or have witnessed a crime.”
This year’s program is the first in which Carrollton police officers joined forces with deputies from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department to provide holiday gifts for local kids. Cpl. Omereo Potts has organized the event in recent years.
“Throughout the year, we select kids that have special needs, or who have witnessed or been victims of a crime,” said Potts. “This year, we chose a total of about 60 kids.”
Children teamed up with local officers on Wednesday morning at the Carrollton Police Station where they were treated to breakfast, as well as an opportunity to greet and have a picture taken with Santa. The children then traveled in a motorcade of police vehicles—with sirens blaring—to Walmart.
“Each kid gets to spend up to $250 on any items they want,” said Potts. “I’ll never forget the smiles on their faces. We really enjoy this event, and with so much negative light being shed on law enforcement, our agency jumps at the opportunity to change peoples’ perception, one person at a time.”
Funds for the program are generated from donations by community individuals and businesses, as well as the Carrollton Police Department’s annual golf tournament. Richards said officers will take a second group of children to shop at Target today.
“We’re very thankful for Walmart and Target for helping us out each year with this event,” said Richards. “I know there were a lot of Walmart employees that helped out yesterday and probably worked extra shifts to do so. Also, I want to thank our officers and deputies who were part of the program. These men and women are not getting paid to come out here with the kids and do this—they are all off duty for this event. They do it out of the goodness of their heart.”
To learn more about donating to the Shop With A Cop program, contact the Carrollton Police Department at 770-834-4451.