Making new friends

Trooper Leah Schnell and Conservation Officer Joe Haywood posed with the two girls they were helping pick out some special presents as part of the Kids and Cops event hosted by the local Wood Fraternal Order of Police #138 Wood Capital Lodge. Photo by Amy Crane.

Wednesday was a special day for children enrolled in Headstart at Tri-Cap.

They were invited to participate in the Cops and Kids program offered through the local Fraternal Order of Police #138 Wood Capital Lodge.

Members of the local law enforcement family were teamed up with the special shoppers to find needed clothing items and then a few toys for a special Christmas. Funded by local donations, the participants have about $150 to spend on the items.

After the shopping, the Cops and Kids headed to the Jasper Parklands, leading a parade of police vehicles with lights flashing and sirens wailing. At The Parklands, they met with Santa Claus and had a special lunch.

But the event is more than simply shopping; the children meet the officers and their families and get to spend time with them in a fun atmosphere. The event’s impact potentially carries on through their lives, allowing them to gain a different perspective of the local men and women serving the communities of Dubois County and the region.

Many of the officers look forward to the annual event as well. Making new friends and spending a couple of hours with the children is a heartwarming experience.

Here are some photos of Wednesday’s event.

Ricki Giesler and her husband, Connor, helped Ava, 5, find some clothes during the Kids and Cops event held at the Jasper Walmart Wednesday morning. Photo by Amy Crane.
Conservation Officer Josue Flores and Hennessy, 4, searched the toy aisles at Walmart, looking for the perfect gift for her to have this Christmas season. Photo by Matthew Crane.
Conservation Officer Jon Watkins helped find some gifts with Victoria during the Cops and Kids event. Photo by Matthew Crane.
Kenya Harris, the Administrative Assistant at the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office, helped pick out the best dinosaur for Marcus, 4. Marcus also picked out some flashing dinosaur shoes for his special shopping excursion. Photo by Matthew Crane.
Detective Rick Chambers with the Dubois County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, thumb wrestled with Anastasia while they waited to head over to The Parklands for lunch and a meet and greet with Santa Claus. Photo by Matthew Crane.
Braylin, 4, handcuffed Jasper Detective Greg Brescher to the shopping cart while waiting to head out in the parade to The Parklands. Photo by Matthew Crane.
The children were met by Santa Claus when they arrived at The Parklands for lunch. The bus led a parade of police vehicles with lights flashing and sirens blaring down Newton Street to the special lunch. Hannah Merter, Public Information Officer at the Dubois County Sheriff’s Office and her little shopper, Grayson, were excited to meet Santa. Photo by Matthew Crane.
The children had lunch at the Parklands and took time to pose with Santa for some photos. Photo by Matthew Crane.