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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Shop with a cop

Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2012, at 9:17 AM

This year, as they have in many years past, local police officers will be taking local kids into their custody for a few hours -- to go Christmas shopping.

It's just one of many of the community's efforts to provide a happy holiday to local families facing hardship; and they all touch the heart, garner much support from the community and fill a need that otherwise might go unmet. But Shop With a Cop may be the local effort about which the people know the least.

I first was introduced to Shop With a Cop some 15 years ago, when I was a reporter in Lee's Summit. It was a sight to see -- a caravan of police cars arrived, each with a smiling, giddy child inside, accompanied by an outwardly more reserved but probably equally giddy inside, police officer. Some of the biggest, toughest-looking police officers I knew were transformed into the role of jolly shopping buddies, and it was clear it was fun for all of them.

Officers shared that it was good to have a chance to show the kids their hearts are big and that they're people who love the good things about the holidays just as much as anyone else -- sometimes more, because they so often see people of all ages at dark times in their lives.

As they do each year in communities all over the United States, including here in Nevada, the kids and cops spread out all over the big box store and set about making their purchases. Using money provided through the program, the kids shop or themselves, and for their family members, and it was eye-opening to see what they purchased. Sure, they bought toys and CDs -- things you'd think a kid would buy at Christmas. But they also bought shoes. Coats. A frying pan for a mom that had none. One bought school supplies for him and his brother. Some of them were so busy looking out for their family members that they had to be forced to purchase something for themselves.

To donate time or money to help make a child's Christmas special, or to nominate a child, contact Officer David Henley at (417) 448-5100.

Monetary donations may be mailed to Shop with a Cop, c/o Nevada Police Department, 120 S. Ash, Nevada. Officers also will pick up the donation upon request.



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Lynn Wade
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Exploring the obvious and the not so obvious in search of the oh, so elusive "something to do' that's all around us.
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