MARIETTA OH (WTAP)- , Most people on a shopping trip to Walmart are not accompanied by a law enforcement officer, but Saturday in Marietta, over 20 kids hit the aisles for Christmas presents thanks to a special program.
“We’re doing ‘Shop with a Cop’ for Christmas and every year we try and get some kids from the community that are from underprivileged families- we go out of our way to work with other agencies in the community, the school system, Eve Shelter, things like that to come up with a list of names to take kids shopping with a police officer…This year we kind of have a record year of officers. We’re probably around 15 to 18 officers this year, which lets us put an officer with each child. This year, we’re in the neighborhood of about 22 kids,” explains Errol Kramer, the President of FOP Lodge 12 Marietta.
For the third straight year participating, the Marietta Police Department began fundraising for this and their ‘Shop with a Cop’ back to school event back in January.
They also had officers from The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and Marietta College Police Department participate. On average, each kid gets about $250 to spend in the store.
“I just think it’s so great that all four of my kids got to shop with a cop… and it’s just so great they got so much stuff to go with their Christmas. It’s awesome,” says Magen Harris, a participant in the program.
The event fosters a positive image of law enforcement from a young age.
“I think it makes a bigger impact with the community. A lot of kids coming up, most of the times they see us is a bad situation. It’s a car accident or somebody’d in a fight or something that’s a negative and this is a way for us to impact the community in a positive light for these younger kids to see we’re not always just there when bad stuff happens, we’re trying to do good stuff too,” notes Kramer.