Kids Enjoy Shopping With A Cop
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11 December 2016
 
Photo Credit: Torrence Dunham
The 19th Annual "Shop with A Cop" Took Place on Saturday

Nine-year-old Austin Ferguson along with 90 other kids joyfully went through the aisles of the Walmart located on Glassford Hill Road in Prescott Valley on Saturday morning filling their cart up to the top with goodies for their family, friends and a little for themselves during the 19th annual “Shop with a Cop” event.

The day started bright and early as kids hopped into a police car for the ride over to Walmart. Ferguson described the experience as being in a helicopter.

“Felt like I was in a dream,” Ferguson said.

The children, along with their new friend from one of the eleven different agencies across the quad cities, had sirens blaring all the way down the road which could be heard from miles away.

Dennis Fogle, who works for Arizona Game and Fish, loves having an energetic Ferguson to tag along with on his first time with the program.

“It’s just neat seeing his face when he hits the lights, the sirens, all the stuff in our patrol vehicles,” Fogle said. ““So it’s just really cool to interact with somebody like that who doesn’t know too much about it but is really interested and everything is cool to them. So it’s really easy to get them excited and talk to them about stuff.”

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As the children arrived at Walmart, they were greeted by employees and members of the public who came out to wave and cheer. Once all the cars were parked, the children were delighted as Santa Claus made an appearance by landing in the middle of the parking lot and hopping out of a helicopter to greet a circle of children.

Following activities in frigid temperatures outside, the children went inside the Walmart and hopped in, on or walked beside the cart as they began their shopping day.

Jason Scissons, who has been with the Prescott Police Department for three years and is participating in his second time with the event, went through the various toy aisles with Orion Cribb as she looked at the latest items from the hit Disney movie Frozen, Legos and the newest children’s tech watches for her sisters and brothers.

“Really cool to bond with a kid and get a little glimpse into their life and what their family life is like and to get a good positive reinforcement and a good reception of police officers from a young age,” Scissions said.

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Each child had a $250 budget to shop which is completely funded by community donations.

“A lot of times we have to go with the child and kind of spur them to go and buy something for themselves because they want to make sure they shop for moms and dads and brothers and sisters too,” said David L. Fuller, the Lead Police Officer for the Prescott Police Department. “It’s really refreshing to see the true nature of the giving season come out when they really want to shop for others.”

The planning for the special day begins in August as contribution letters are distributed. The program really starts to ramp up in October and November as referrals for children to participate come in from local schools and charitable organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club, and accumulates with police officers volunteering their time to make a child’s day.

“Most of us that are shopping today are moms and dads ourselves and we like kids and hanging out,” Fuller said. “Most of us in law enforcement, we get into this profession to help people and we take a great amount of satisfaction when we see little guys smile and being able to help them out. So it’s very rewarding for us.”

In 2017, the program will celebrate its 20th anniversary and Fuller is hoping the program will be bigger and better than it has ever been before as they are shooting for 100 or more participants.

Fuller emphasized the program was a success due to the donations from the public as well as Walmart opening their arms to the program and giving them what they needed to have a fantastic day. 

Photos by Torrence Dunham

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