More than 125 local children, armed with police escorts, converged on Walmart on Saturday morning looking for the perfect toy during the Bullhead City Police Department's annual Shop with a Cop.
The program, now in its 14th year, allows children to be paired up with a police officer for a morning of shopping, buying toys, clothes and music for themselves or for their families. Children selected for the program are nominated by their school teachers and approved by school administrators. Participants need to be on the free and reduced lunch program in order to be nominated.
Scott Steele, president of the Bullhead City Police Officer's Association which sponsors the program, said the event is always a success.
“It's a memorable morning for not only the kids, the officers look forward to this event as well,” Steele said. “It is a way to interact with children on a different level since a lot of them see us while we are working and are scared of us. The program gives kids a positive experience with us.”
The officers assist the child with picking out the items they'd like to purchase and keeping a running total of the amount. Each child is given a $100 gift card to spend.
“I want video games, like a racing game and gun games,” said 7-year-old Carson Rac.
Walmart not only provides extra staff for the event, but also pays the sales tax for the items. It's an event staff say they love.
“Shop with a Cop is an event we at Walmart look forward to every year,” said co-manager Dale Westrom. “We're glad to be part of it.”
Before going to Walmart, the children and officers ate a complete pancake breakfast at the Elks Lodge.
“I only ate my sausage,” said Blythe Holloway, 7.
Shop with a Cop is made possible by donations from community groups, businesses and individuals.
In addition to the Bullhead City Police Department, members from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, Fort Mojave Tribal Police Department, the Mohave County Constable's Office, California Highway Patrol, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Arizona Game and Fish, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Department of Wildlife and the National Parks Service participated in the event.