r Update 12/09/17: The event happened today and the post has been updated with a video compliments of Carolina Herrin.r
rThe Payson, Spanish Fork and Salem City Police Departments are currently getting ready for the the 27th Annual Shop With A Cop program which will take place on Saturday, December 9, at the Spanish Fork Walmart.
Their goal for 2017 is to take at least 150 children shopping to make Christmas a little more enjoyable for these children and their families. Donations are needed to reach this goal.
The Shop With A Cop program involves law enforcement officers from all agencies in Utah County, donating their time to take a group of children on a Christmas shopping spree. Children are selected by referrals from social service agencies. Donated gift cards are provided to each child who then selects Christmas gifts while shopping at Walmart.
Participating children are paired with local law enforcement officers and get a ride in their police vehicles through the Festival of Lights in Spanish Fork. They then enjoy breakfast at a local elementary school before shopping.
Payson Police Sergeant Noemi Sandoval says the program is a great way for the police officers to interact with the children in the community in a positive way. She is the department’s representative for the program.
“When kids typically have interaction with law enforcement, it’s typically because there’s something going on with parents,” she said. This could range from a parent getting pulled over for speeding to more serious situations where a parent may be arrested.
“When they come shop with a cop and they come in the cars and get to see the equipment and go through the festival of lights and go to breakfast. All of that is a real positive interaction with them so that they know that cops aren’t this scary entity,” Sandoval said.
She said the program is also a positive and enjoyable experience for the police officers who are sometimes spoken of and treated negatively in today’s political climate. “It’s a fun environment that instills in us what we are doing this job for. Serving the community and making it a better place for those kids to grow up in,” she said.
To help sponsor this, program, please make checks payable to “Utah County Shop With A Cop” and mail to Utah County Shop With A Cop, P.O. Box 1373, Spanish Fork, Utah, 84660. You may also deliver your donation to your local police department in Payson, Spanish Fork and Salem.