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With lights flashing and sirens blaring, police descended on Wal-Mart in Dry Ridge on Saturday, Dec. 8.
There hadn’t been an armed robbery. No one got pushed or shoved in a shopping frenzy, but there were plenty of smiles as 20 children got to choose clothes and toys for Christmas as part of the annual Shop With A Cop program.
Money for the annual event comes from a golf scramble and donations. A few businesses either raise or donate money to help pay for a child to participate. Thrivent Lutheran’s Financial also donated $1,000.
Officer Brad Morris with the Williamstown Police Department has participated before and said it is something he looks forward to.
“It’s an opportunity to help those less fortunate have a good Christmas,” Morris said.
“I hope they get out of the program that there are people willing to help them and later in life they’ll see someone in need and help them.”
Brian of Williamstown carefully selected a pair of camouflage cowboy boots.
“His dad said he was real excited when he found out he was going to get to go shopping,” said Grant County Sheriff’s Deputy Bobby Webb.
“I was excited,” Brian chimed in. “I got a lot of toys and I’m having fun so far.”
While some of the children took awhile to select items, others knew what they came for.
Sgt. Robert Reed of the Williamstown Police Department helped a young lady shop for a coat.
“What kind do you like?” asked the father of two girls.
“”Not a girlie coat,” she replied.
Marianne Smith, director of Dry Ridge Elementary School’s Family Resource Center, assisted with a student from the FMD program. This was her second time to participate.
“I think it’s as meaningful for the adults as it is for the kids,” she said.
Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills said between $250 and $300 was spent on each child.
Wal-Mart gives a discount and makes a donation to the program and Edwardoís Pizza provides a free lunch.
Half the money is usually spent on clothes, with the remainder being spent on games and toys.
School personnel chose which children 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.
The program assisted 22 children this year, but sickness kept two of them at home. Dills said officers made sure those two children received gifts.
“We couldn’t do this without the support of the community,” Dills said. “People and businesses are what make this happen year after year.”