By Stephanie Malench
Twenty-five police officers from four local police departments reported to the Highland Walmart on December 12 to conduct the annual Shop With A Cop.
This year, the families signed up for time slots throughout the day to help with social distancing. Each child was given up to an hour to shop with their cop.
The Highland police department has been participating in the event for at least eight years, with families being nominated by Moose Lodge 2479, the Highland Optimists, public and private schools in Highland and the community’s churches.
Each child receives the same amount of money that they can spend however they want in the store.
This was the Troy Police Department’s first year participating in the program. Police Chief Brad Parsons said that they were able to help 10 kids this year and all 11 of the officers, as well as himself and Administrative Secretary Michelle Schneider volunteered their time.
Silver Creek and Henning Elementary Schools School Resource Officer Nick Elliott said that he was in charge of choosing the 10 neediest students in the schools he patrols. Elliott said “a big part of the program is building relationships between the cops and children when they may have had bad experiences with law enforcement previously.
Families are never turned away from the program. The departments raise additional money and were collecting money at the door to help ensure everyone gets help.
Two officers from St. Jacob Police Department helped three St. Jacob Elementary School students and two of their younger siblings with shopping. This was the department’s second year participating.
Two police officers from Grantfork, and one from Trenton also participated in the event.