Shop with a Cop 2012, Washington County, Utah, Dec. 15, 2012 | Photos by Dave Amodt, St. George News
WASHINGTON COUNTY – Spirits of kids and cops and volunteers alike were anything but gloomy this morning, despite the drizzly weather, as they all converged first at the Washington County Fairgrounds for a pancake breakfast, then traveled with sirens screaming and lights flashing in police cars and emergency vehicles to area Wal-Mart stores to “Shop with a Cop.”
The Shop with a Cop program qualifies approximately 100 Washington County kids who meet certain need criteria and pairs them with officers from all of the law enforcement and public safety agencies in the county. Representatives of muncipal police departments, county sheriff, forestry service, parole services, even FBI, among many others (see sponsor and participating agencies list below), join with kids in this morning of purposeful pandemonium.
The children are each allotted $100 to spend and are paired one-on-one with a “cop” who follows them around and consults with them in their shopping process as they manage their purchasing budget.
“They can pick presents for themselves, although most of the time they pick for family members,” Hurricane Police Department’s public information officer, Nancy Perkins, said. “Some of them pick a bike, almost always they find something for their mom or dad or brother or sister. Some of them need clothes more than anything else; and-some of them will buy a toy they always wanted.”
Some of the kids shopping are doing so for a younger sibling who is not old enough to shop for him or herself but has qualified for the program.
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Shop with a Cop, Washington County, Utah, Dec. 15, 2012 | Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George news
Shop with a Cop is a collaborative effort of agencies, KONY Coins for Kids program – which conducts the qualification process and raises funds – individual donations, donations from the participating agency departments, and donation from individual officers who assign money they would have received for time off directly to the account for Shop with a Cop funding.
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Shop with a Cop photo gallery
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Including volunteers and wives of officers to help kids wrap their gifts this year was new to the Shop with a Cop event. Since many of the kids actually spend their dollars buying gifts for their family members, providing the added wrapping aspect was another benefit to them.
“… This is a very exciting day for us,” Hurricane Wal-Mart Manager Rick Heyrend said. “As soon as this event ends we’ll start planning for next year.”
Although the videocast and photo gallery included with this report record Shop with a Cop shopping at Wal-Mart in Hurricane, kids and cops also invaded Wal-Mart stores in Washington City and the Bloomington area of St. George, and were equally warmly welcomed.
St. George News Photographer Dave Amodt and Videographer Sarafina Amodt contributed to this story.