Our View: Shop with a Cop meets kids’ needs, wants

Published 12:39 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas came early for more than 200 Clark County children thanks to community support a special project by local law enforcement.

For nearly 25 years, Shop With A Cop has provided gifts to underprivileged children right here at home.

Since 1992, on the weekend before Christmas, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 34 has sponsored the annual Shop With a Cop where local children get to buy clothes and toys ahead of Christmas.

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Officers were out in full force Sunday morning as they accompanied the children on a Walmart shopping spree.

Each of the 201 children who participate are given $125 to spend on their Christmas wants and needs.

Money for the program is provided by community donations, although the FOP will sometimes donate money from its general fund to bring in more children. Participants are selected by local schools’ family resource and youth services centers. If a child is selected, his or her brothers and sisters are automatically qualified as well.

Similar programs are organized by FOP lodges across the country each year.

Typically, 20 to 30 officers will volunteer for shopping, including deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Winchester Police Department officers and retired law enforcement personnel. Other volunteers from the community participate as well.

Fundraising begins about two to three months in advance by soliciting donations from local businesses and individuals. The number of children participating depends on the amount of money donated.

The inaugural Shop With A Cop involved only 15 children, but it has grown to include as many as 350 children in years past.

Shop With A Cop not only provides gifts for the many less fortunate children in our community, but it also fosters a positive relationship between the community and local law enforcement.

It’s important that children understand police are there to help them and should not be seen as scary or “bad guys” to those who obey the law.

The program is made that much more meaningful by the fact it is funded by so many generous donations from the people of Clark County.

Shop With A Cop is a prime example of what can be accomplished when a community comes together to address a need.