Thanks to Cops and Kids

Published 10:08 pm Monday, December 9, 2019

The annual Cops and Kids shopping trip always attracts a lot of attention at Walmart.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the store’s usual Friday afternoon, even a bunch of kids excitedly shopping with police officers and sheriff’s deputies in full uniform is enough to turn heads. It’s a great chance for the law enforcement officers to talk to folks about what they’re doing.

“To us, the kids are the important thing,” said Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 Director Allan Iversen last Friday. “We’re able to give back to the community. The community helps us out with donations, and one thing we do with the donations is give it right back to the community and help out as many as we can.”

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This year, that number equaled 17 children who got to go shopping with local police officers. Frequently at the event, other shoppers approach Iversen and others with donations in hand once they realize what’s going on.

One mom at Friday’s event said her daughter tends to be scared of police officers, but the girl warmed right up to Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Deputy Maranda White.

That’s exactly the point of the annual Cops and Kids program. It’s not just about helping underprivileged children buy wants and needs for themselves and family members, although that’s certainly part of it. It’s truly about forging a bond between young people and law enforcement so they no longer see law enforcement as a threat or the enemy, but rather as the safekeepers of our society — and perhaps a future career.

As the children shopped for toys, clothes and more, they may not have even realized they were befriending the people with the badges who were helping them, but they surely walked away with a better impression of law enforcement officers.

Our warmest appreciation goes out to the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41 and all those who helped make this event possible, including the shopping law enforcement officers themselves.