100 kids get shopping spree with cops

FOP hosts 11th annual Cops and Kids event

Author: Ashley Mitchem, Morning traffic, news reporter, amitchem@wjxt.com
Christopher Yazbec, News editor, News4Jax.com, cyazbec@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 19 2013 11:02:00 AM EST   Updated On: Dec 19 2013 11:05:12 AM EST
FOP Cops and Kids
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Fraternal Order of Police on Thursday teamed about 100 deserving children with law enforcement officers for a day of holiday shopping at Walmart.

The kids were selected for the 11th annual FOP Cops and Kids event after writing a 250 word essay.

"They have a blast. The officers have more fun than the kids do, actually," FOP President Steve Amos said.

FOP members say the event not only blesses children with gifts but helps kids become more comfortable around police officers.

"Get to kids early while they're young, make good, positive contact with them," Amos said. "They know what police officers are all about and aren't scared of us. We can reach them and maybe cut them off from bad influences in the future."

So what was it like to be able to shop with a police officer?

"First, I thought it was going to be scary, then I realized he was nice," Kimmy Williams said.

At Walmart, kids were paired with an officer to roam the aisles and pick out whatever toy they wanted, as long as it stayed under the $100 limit.

The children were paired with an officer and given a gift card for the one-on-one shopping excursion.

"I picked out some things for my sister and a robe for my mom and a few other things for me," Deshalia Marshall said.

Children got to not only take home gifts but had the chance to tell Santa what they want under the tree Christmas morning.

Parents were grateful for the experience.

"This means everything. This makes the difference between really having Christmas for my children," Emily Mitchell said.

The program is funded through the FOP's annual fundraising drive and works to reinforce positive interaction between children and officers.