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Bridging the gap between kids and cops

Police department hosts 2nd Annual Shop with a Cop Event

By BECKY CRISSMAN
becky.crissman@cordeledispatch.com

CORDELE — As part of a continued effort to build better relationships with kids and local law enforcement the Cordele Police Department hosted their 2nd Annual “Shop with a Cop” event on Friday.
SSgt. Ketorie Sales organized the event, which pairs cops with kids and provides gift cards for them to shop for Christmas.
“There is so much negativity involving police and citizens in other areas,” said Sales. “We want children in our community to know that we are here for them when and if they ever need us. We want kids to know we are not the bad guys.”
Local businesses, civic organizations, local and out of town individuals donated money to support “Shop with a Cop.” Through those donations the department raised enough money to give 30 children a $50 gift card each to shop.
Students were selected from the 3rd grade at Crisp County Primary School. The names of students with honor roll and perfect attendance were entered into a drawing where the 30 children were selected.
Sales said that there were additional children in the special needs class from Crisp County Primary School and Crisp County Elementary School, who could not go out for the event. Their wish lists were submitted to the department and officers delivered those items to the school on Thursday, much to the excitement of the children. They also gave away two bicycles at the high school.
“Shop with a Cop” was held on Friday, December 18 with the kids loaded onto a bus and transported to the Community Clubhouse where one sponsor provided a Chick-fil-A catered lunch.
After lunch the bus loaded back up and it was off to Wal-Mart. Upon their arrival, kids were greeted by special surprise guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus. One by one kids were paired with a cop, and each duo was given a “Shop with a Cop” T-shirt and a $50 gift card for the child to shop in the store. Also pairing up with kids were representatives from the Department of Juvenile Justice, and some deputies from the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office.
“We had a good turnout and it was a great day,” said Sales. “Judging by the interactions between the officers and the kids I would say fun was had by all. The cops seemed to really have a good time with their little shoppers.”
“I really want to thank everyone who donated and/or participated in making this event a success,” said Sales. “I hope through continued support we will be able to serve even more kids next year. It is just like the motto says
“A little change can make a big difference bridging the gap between cops and kids.”
Sales said he plans to get a jump start on next year’s event and maybe even hold some fundraisers throughout the year to help support the program.
“This is a good thing,” he said. “We really want to keep it going year after year and hope it just keeps getting better.”
To donate to next year’s “Shop with a Cop” contact Sales at (229)276-2926.