As the SUVs and vans full of kids arrived at Walmart they were met by uniformed officers from all the local law enforcement departments.
As part of Cops and Kids, each officer had one of the 51 children as a partner to go through Walmart shopping for needed clothes before heading over to the toy department for some fun items of each child’s choice. Each child had about $150 available to use for the gifts they would take home.
Most officers enjoy the annual event but some have an interesting time attempting to discern whether Paw Patrol is still cool enough for their partner or if they should be looking at some Marvel-themed items. Some male officers rely on their spouse or significant other to pick out girls clothing items.
In all, it’s a fun event designed to build relations between police officers and children sponsored through the Fraternal Order of Police Wood Capitol Lodge 138.
The participating children are usually members of Tri-Cap’s Head Start program – a preschool program available for at-risk children.
In addition to the FOP, Walmart and Maurices are big donors for the program. Due to new laws regarding the transportation of preschool children on school buses, Ruxer Ford Lincoln donated the use of several SUVs and vans for transportation to Walmart.
After shopping for about an hour, the children were taken to the Jasper Moose in a caravan that included a police escort with lights and sirens. There they enjoyed lunch and a visit with Santa Claus.
The participating departments include Dubois County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police, Huntingburg, Ferdinand and Jasper Police Departments, Indiana Conservation Officers, Jasper dispatchers, jail officers, community corrections, probation officers and the Dubois County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.