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Shop with a Cop: making the Christmas of kids and cops

KIFI/Braydon Wilson

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI)- If you got woken up in the early hours on Saturday, by the large amount of sirens the source of the noise was the Shop with a Cop event. Multiple Law enforcement agencies across the region participated in the event. It all started with a car parade with the sirens blaring.

The Shop with a Cop event helps the officer and child involved spend some quality time together and create some good memories with each other. Some of the children may have had some bad experiences that involved law enforcement and this is a chance to change all of those bad experiences and replace it with a good one.

"We work with the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center, and they they find some of these kids that have been exposed to traumatic incidents or abuse cases in there's been law enforcement interaction there that hasn't exactly been fun. This event kind of is a way to grab those kids and kind of take them, plug them into a positive experience, a little bonding experience for for us and for them and they're shopping for their families there. They have a list for their family and we're helping them provide for their family for Christmas. And of course, they get to see Santa and they get a stocking and they get a few things as well," said Sergeant Bryan Lovell from the Bonneville County Sheriff's office.

"There's there's all kinds of reasons why we might do this. But I think the most important is that we are trying to give these kids a really positive experience. These are kids who have been part of something traumatic or something hard over the last year. And so being able to spend this time with them, especially in this setting where we get to take them to breakfast, we get to take them on the parade across town and they get to play with the lights and the sirens. And they come here and they shop with their police officer or their deputy, their fishing game cop, their state state trooper.

Those moments really stick with them and being able to do it in this way, where the Eagles Lodge welcomes us, their citizens participate. Target helps out the domestic violence shelters, a huge part of it, having everyone come together to make this moment and these memories for these children is just amazing," says Jessica Clements the Public Information Officer, for the Idaho Falls Police Department.

But it's not just the kids who are able to have a good memory from the day.

"My first experience with doing shop with the cop here in Bonneville County was back in 2001. And and I've been fortunate to do it almost every year since. And, now I get to be part of the set up, and, it's fun for me," said Lovell. He added, "I have some great memories of of kids that I was able to take through in years past and. And running into them here and there. I know a lot of the cops that are involved in this, they keep in touch with a lot of the kids that they took through or they remember them. They come seek them out and say hi and say, remember me from Shop with a Cop and and that's a lasting relationship."

Jessica Clements added "We often talk about how important these moments are for our kids, and the kids are participating. Shop for the cop. This is great for them. It's also really important for our officers, our deputies and our troopers that participate. It kind of helps them to fill their cups as they go out into the holiday season and go out and to serve our community these moments with these kids some of these officers, they were part of those those moments that were hard for those kids." She added, "They were the ones that responded when there was something traumatic going on in that child's life. And so for them being able to be part of these moments and making these positive memories is great for them, too."

She says while every year something unique stands out from the event one year in particular always stands out. "A couple of years ago, when we were in the pandemic, we didn't do shop with the cop this way, but we did deliver presents to kids around town. And we had one child that all he wanted for Christmas that year was orange juice. And that's something that's really stuck with me. It really puts a lot of the crazy busyness of this time of year into perspective every time I think about it."

Many of the officers shared that they want to participate in the event next year even if they have to change their schedules to do it.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.


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