Officers play Santa

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Shop with a cop

By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Before he picked out a toy or anything for himself, Devon placed pink roses in the Wal-Mart shopping cart to take to his mother, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.


Devon was just one of several of the 21 children selected for the 2008 Shop With A Cop program who chose presents for his family before choosing something for himself.

“It’s always amazing to me,” said Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills. “It’s not about them. They want to buy something for their brothers, sisters, or mom and dad.”

The annual Williamstown Police Department/Grant County Sheriff’s Department Shop With A Cop that pairs officers with children who are in need was held Dec. 13.

Williamstown Police Chief Bobby Webb heard of the program through his association with the Kenton County Fraternal Order of Police and he thought it was something that would benefit children in Grant County.

“We wanted a way to do something for kids in the community,” said Webb.

The majority of the money raised for the event is from a golf scramble.

Donations are also accepted from the public, with several handing Dills and Webb money while the children were shopping and from businesses.

Vanity Fair and Factory Brand Shoes in the Dry Ridge Outlet Center give a discount on items purchased there, while Wal-Mart gives a discount and makes a donation to the program. Edwardo’s Pizza provides a free lunch. Vanity Fair also gave each child a backpack and provided breakfast.

This year, officers from Williamstown, the sheriff’s department and the Grant County Detention Center cheerily maneuvered up and down the aisles in search of clothes and toys.

The children were able to spend $200.

“We usually spend between $4,500 and $5,000 each year,” Dills said.

Half the money is spent on clothes, with the remainder being spent on games and toys.

School personnel choose which children will participate. Police officers are given the name of the child they will be partnered with. The officers pick up the child in their cruisers and take them out for a morning of shopping.

Michael, a 12-year-old boy, wanted a pair of DC shoes. They were the main thing he was after.

“I got them,” he said. “This was fun.”

Michael cruised up and down the toy aisles and finally settled on a remote-controlled Hummer.

“I’ve got a ramp at home so this will be cool,” he said.

For Todd, age 10, a must have was also a remote controlled car.

Todd even tried to put some of the clothes back when he found out they meant he’d have less to spend on toys.

“No, you’re going to keep these clothes or we won’t be looking at toys,” Williamstown Asst. Chief Chris Hankins said.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of the community,” Dills said. “People and businesses are what make this happen year after year.”