Local elementary and middle school students have most likely spent some time with a police officer at their school, but Sunday morning, about 100 kids had the opportunity to get to know local law enforcement even better while they shopped with a cop.
The Highland’s Walmart was packed Sunday with local kids and their families waiting their turn to go shopping with a police officer.
Shop with a Cop is part of the Kids and Cops program and is put together by the Wheeling Fraternal Order of Police.
President Tom Howard compiles a list of students from county elementary and middle schools and sends out personally signed letters, inviting the kids to participate. As you can probably guess, the kids love it.
“It was nice to hang out with a police officer. It was a good time. I feel like if other kids had the opportunity to do ‘Shop With a Cop,’ I feel like they would probably do it. They would take it up, and they would probably take part in it because it was a fun opportunity, and it’s probably a good time to get some things that you might want that you might not be able to get in the near future” said 12-year-old Jacob Cunningham.
Each kid is given a $100 budget, but Howard says that budget has some wiggle room.
It is not just the kids that have a good time. Law enforcement from several local stations gave up their Sunday to spend time with and get to know those kids.
“The officers love it. They volunteer their time. They’re not getting paid. So, they come up on their own time. For me, that makes me feel like a real big Santa Claus because we get to take care of all the kids and have a fun time with it,” said Tom Howard.
Some kids come prepared with a list of what they want, and others just pick and choose as they go along.
Howard says the funding for Shop with a Cop comes from donations and fundraisers. If you would like to donate, they are already starting the fund for next year.