Flagler County deputy, dispatcher save choking child during ‘Shop with a Cop’ event

Largest ever event invited children in need to shop for holidays with deputies at local Walmart

Flagler County Shop with a Cop 2022

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – An off-duty Flagler County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher and her husband, a deputy, acted quickly Friday during the annual Shop with a Cop event in Palm Coast and saved a choking child.

Dispatcher Lindsey Stanford, who was volunteering at Shop with a Cop, noticed the choking child and the child’s mother trying to clear an obstruction from the child’s throat.

Stanford and her husband, Deputy Sheriff Richard Stanford, ran over and both worked to clear the child’s airway. Using the Heimlich maneuver and other techniques, they forced a button from the child’s airway.

The child made a full recovery, deputies said.

“While there was a frightening moment, I’m very proud of everyone involved in this lifesaving event that could have had a much different outcome,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “You never know when you may have to jump into action and save a life in this profession.”

Staly established the Flagler Sheriff’s Children’s Charities in 2020, and the charity hosted its largest-ever Shop with a Cop event on Friday, providing holiday gifts to children in the Flagler County community who otherwise might not have a holiday.

The event at Walmart in Palm Coast kicked off with law enforcement deputies and officers from FCSO, Bunnell Police Department, Flagler Beach Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife and FCSO COPs picking up the children at their homes and going to the new Sheriff’s Operations Center to play games, interact with law enforcement officers and participate in other fun holiday activities, including a snowball game where snow actually fell in Flagler County.

Santa arrived on a modern-day sleigh, arriving by a helicopter provided by Attorney Dan Newlin.

“Shop With a Cop was a great success, and I appreciate everyone that donated and all our FCSO employees and partner agencies who volunteered to take part in this amazing event,” Staly said.

The goal of “Shop with a Cop” is to help children and families who are struggling due to economic circumstances, are victims of domestic violence, or have been placed in foster care. It is sponsored and supported by FCSO employees, local businesses and community sponsors.

“I’m very proud of our team that not only serves the community every day but also gives back to our community to help build positive relationships between children and law enforcement. Not only did they volunteer their time, but they donated almost $19,000.00 to support Shop with a Cop and many reached into their pocket to pay any overage from their child’s shopping spree,” Staly said.

The children and deputies went to the Palm Coast Walmart, escorted by the FCSO Motors Unit with lights and sirens, and each participating child received a $200 gift card, up from $175 last year, where they had the opportunity to shop for themselves and family members.

“Our team truly enjoys Shop With a Cop each year and getting to see the children get into the holiday spirit and the smiles on their faces,” Staly said. “I encourage members of our community to support Flagler Sheriff’s Children’s Charities by making a tax-deductible donation.”

If you would like to support next year’s event you can make a tax-deductible donation by going to GoFundMe or PayPal.

About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.