The Stevensville Police Department held “Shop With a Cop” on December 10th. A total of 10 kids got to ride to Missoula in police cars, shop at Walmart for their family members and themselves, and then come back and have a gift wrapping and pizza party after. According to organizer Kristin Kruse, two deputies from Ravalli County also participated this year, allowing more children to be included. Officer Colt Hudson and his K9 “Bob” along with Deputy Josh Scoggins joined in the fun along with Stevensville police officers: Chief Mac Sosa, Officer Todd Schafer and Officer Trevor Frandsen.
“Walmart store #2147 in Missoula along with their store manager Lane Baker have been very generous and supportive of us as a department and had special gifts for all the kids who came,” said Kruse. “I would also like to acknowledge our sponsor, Far West Storage. This is the second year they have funded this and they plan on continuing to do so in the future as well.”
Chief Sosa issued this statement about the program:
Shop With a Cop started in 1989. Each year since then the concept has grown with thousands of children being served throughout the nation. What makes Shop With a Cop different is that children are given the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with officers, and that makes it a little more personal than some other events that are held or sponsored by officers or other police organizations.
Here in Stevensville, we send out applications to the school administration. This is done because they are more suited to identify children, that this type of event can better serve. Once the children are identified, the parents are contacted to make sure that they agree for their child to participate, necessary paperwork is completed, and we take them on a shopping spree.
We have been very fortunate to have the sponsors that we do and the basic request that is made is that the children buy any clothes that they might need, a gift for other family members in the home and choose a gift or two for themselves.
What we often find is that the children get great satisfaction in being given the opportunity to get gifts for others and it can be very humbling when watching them also be fragile with this opportunity. It’s not only a good experience for the children but very much so for the officers.
This year the Stevensville Police Department was able to partner with the Ravalli County Sheriff’s office to have officers available for ten children and we hope to have the event continue to grow and include more officers in our area.