Local law enforcement officers will trade in their badges for aprons next week to bring Christmas to kids in need.
The annual Tip-a-Cop will be held Dec. 9 and Dec. 11 at two local restaurants where members of local law enforcement will be waiters for a night and donate all tips to purchase Christmas gifts for needy children in the area.
“[The tips] will go directly to help kids in our community,” said Det. Joshua Moody of the Grantsville City Police Department. He is also helping to organize the event.
After being tipped, officers take selected children for a day starting with breakfast at the TA Travel Center, then convoy with a slew of police cars and fire trucks to Walmart in Tooele, where the children are allowed to shop for Christmas presents.
“The heartbreaking thing is that, at least the kid I went with last year spent all his money on his family,” Moody said. He noted that the child, and many of the other young shoppers, had to be persuaded to buy something for themselves for Christmas.
“That was the highlight of my career, helping with that last year,” he said.
Roughly 50 children were taken along for the ride last year, Moody said, and officers hope to be able to take about that same number this year. The event not only helps provide a little holiday cheer for children in tough situations, but helps them see officers in a different light. Moody said that opportunity is especially important because many of the children come from homes where police are called frequently.
The event also gives the different local agencies a more lighthearted opportunity to work together.
“The biggest thing is seeing how the agencies come together and how much cohesion there is,” Moody said. “We work together when there are incidents, but this is a more positive environment.”
Officers from all local law enforcement agencies are involved with the effort. They include: Adult Probation and Parole, Children’s Justice Center, Department of Family Services, Grantsville City Police Department, Stockton Police Department, Tooele City Police Department, Tooele County Sheriff’s Office and Utah Highway Patrol.
Tip-a-Cop will come to Casa del Ray in Grantsville on Dec. 9, and will be at Applebee’s on Dec. 11. Monetary donations can also be delivered or sent to Grantsville City Office, 429 E. Main Street by Dec. 15, with a note that the funds be used for the Shop With a Cop program. Forms for tax deductible purposes can be arranged for monetary donations, Moody said.
“The more support we have from the community, the better,” he said.