Decatur Agents Volunteer to Give Gifts for Shop with a Cop | Local
DECATUR – Nine-year-old Savannah Lewis was at the Walmart Supercenter on Saturday morning with Decatur Police Detective Chad Ramey on the hunt for a tennis racket to add to the list of sports she already plays, such as basketball and football.
“My school put my name down and I was very shocked, to be honest,” said Lewis, who attends the Montessori Academy for Peace. “It was very confusing.”
Although Lewis didn’t understand the concept at first, Ramey and her daughter Chase led Lewis through the athletic sections of the store, where they helped her choose the perfect racquet for the annual Shop with a Cop event.
“My daughter has been helping me since she was about 6 and it’s just fun to do,” Ramey said. “It’s great to be here with the kids and hopefully help them over Christmas and give back to the community. ”
Local children and their families were greeted with holiday cheer and smiling faces as the annual event invited approximately 80 students from the classrooms of Decatur public schools.
Maria Robertson, director of community engagement for Decatur public schools, said children are encouraged to go shopping with a cop after teachers and principals recommend them.
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Family bonding also plays a role in staying in touch with families who may need help and then recommending them for the event to give them “an extra boost during the holiday season,” said Robertson .
“We’re very fortunate that the police department can run a program twice a year, and it’s been really enlightening to see the students come in and have that relationship with the officers,” said Robertson. “It is important to build these relationships and to recognize another trusted adult that they will see in the community.”
Decatur Police Detective David Daley, who is also chairman of the Police Benevolent Protective Association, said events like this and the other in August for back to school took place long before he started participating 25 years ago, and that’s one of the reasons he entered law enforcement.
“Even before I arrived, we saw a need for us as police officers to interact with the community and especially with children in a different light than while we are at work,” said Daley. “We thought it would be a good idea to have them come shopping with us, talk to us and communicate with our families to see us differently instead of just a policeman.”
By giving each child a ticket valued at $ 100, there is no limit to who they can buy gifts for and what they can buy, besides not being able to buy violent video games, a said Daley.
As for the volunteer officers, Daley said they have all come out to help in their time off with their families and not on duty.
“It was exciting to come in and see them all lined up to get the kids ready to go shopping,” said Kathy Lee. “They do a good job and we really appreciate them for what they do because some kids unfortunately don’t get anything, but they make sure everyone has a Christmas this year.”
Lee said it was her first time at the event and she wasn’t aware of it until her son called her last night and asked her to bring her granddaughter Jaylain Jarrett , do shopping in the morning.
After being greeted at the store by agents and their family members, Lee said they were in a partnership and set off in search of a surprise LOL! dolls.
Another buyer, Ray Nesse, said his 5-year-old son Anthony had an imagination of his own and would grab anything that caught his eye but still needed to find something for his brother.
“I love Beyblades and Star Wars,” Anthony said. “These toys are awesome! “
While leading the cart down the toy aisle, Detective Johnathan Jones said he enjoys volunteering at the event every year and thinks it adds to the visibility of the police department in addition to the work normal police.
Born and raised in Decatur, Jones said Shop with a Cop is a way to help community members who may be financially burdened, while showing children the variety of officers who work and live here.
“We have to find other ways to positively interact with these kids, and that’s one of those ways,” Jones said. “It is very important that you help, but also that the children see the various officers who work there, from women to men and African Americans. The variety is good and they need to see it.
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