The annual “Shop with a Cop” event this year was a success, but it was different this year because of the pandemic.
About 50 police officers and civilian staff from Tooele City, the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office, Grantsville, Stockton, Utah Highway Patrol, Bureau of Land Management and Wendover City traveled to Walmart in Tooele on Dec. 19 to buy toys for 100 children from the county in need.
“This year, due to COVID, the parents of the children supplied a list of things that the children needed,” said Jeremy Hansen, public information officer at the Tooele Police Department. “The officers arrived at the Tooele Walmart at 05:30 a.m. and purchased the gifts for the children. The officers then delivered the presents to the children at their homes.”
Volunteers spent $100 on children five years old and younger.
They spent $200 on children over the age of five.
In years prior, officers would meet the children at the Travel America truck stop in Lake Point for an early breakfast. After breakfast, they would transport the children to the Tooele Walmart where children and officers would shop together.
“We were not able to meet for breakfast or shop with the children,” said Hansen, speaking about the event this year. “However, the event was still a success.”
Each year, the children are chosen by a board that determines which children are chosen for the event.
“Each year a Shop-With-A-Cop Board is created with each major police agency having a representative on the board,” said Hansen. “All applications which are turned in, are discussed by the board and they select which children and families are chosen for the event.”
Donations for the event come from the community and local businesses.
Hansen, who has participated in the event for years, said that the officers look forward to the event each year.
“I have participated in this event for the past 12 to 13 years,” he said. “Officers always enjoy this event, because the officers get to interact with children and see the excitement that the children get, when they realize they get to spend $200.00. It really is enjoyable for the officers.”
The community enjoys the Shop with a Cop event as well, according to Hansen.
“Our citizens in Tooele County are always great to support this event,” said Hansen. “Our County’s citizens understood that this year has been difficult for all of us and they stepped up in their donations to the program. The children and families which we supported this year, were very appreciative and grateful.”
Originally, the Shop with a Cop event was created by an officer from Grantsville City in 1999, according to Hansen.
The following year, Grantsville City reached out to the Children’s Justice Center for assistance.
“This program has occurred every year since, with it growing bigger and bigger each year,” said Hansen. “We truly appreciate the support from our communities and the support of our local businesses that make this event possible. We could not complete this event without their support.”