by Danny Wade
Often times police officers get a bad wrap, especially when it comes to the national media. But Humboldt police want to be and are a vital part of the community. One way they give back is with Shop with a Cop.
Shop with a Cop is one of the Humboldt Police Officers Association biggest projects. It has been going on for decades except for a few years here and there due to lack of funds or other circumstances. This year’s Shop with a Cop will be bigger and better.
Sgt. Jonathan Wilson is overseeing the HPOA project this year. He said a typical Shop with a Cop would consist of 10 kids. This year’s goal was to provide for 15 kids. They surpassed that mark and there will be 17 this year. And, thanks to donations, they have upped the amount to spend on each kid. The past couple of years, the Humboldt Fire Department has assisted and with 17 kids, their assistance will surely be needed again this year.
Shop with a Cop is funded through donations and membership dues to HPOA. Individuals or businesses can donate to HPOA, where they can designate which project their donation dollars will go towards.
Members of HPOA work closely with the Boys & Girls Club of Humboldt and Humboldt City Schools to determine which children are selected. Sgt. Wilson said the Boys & Girls Club has an Angel Tree and officers randomly pick kids’ angels from the tree.
On Tuesday, December 18, the kids along with parents or a family representative will meet at the Municipal Building basement. Several Humboldt policemen and firemen will host a small reception with refreshments. At that time they will explain the procedure for Shop with a Cop. Half of the money is designated to make purchases for essential needs such as clothing, shoes, socks, school uniforms or any other necessities. This is where the parents’ assistance comes in knowing the child’s sizes. The second half of the money is used to purchase whatever the kids want, be it toys, games, more clothes or any number of things.
Some of the lucky kids will have the opportunity to ride to the store in a police car or fire truck.
“For the kids, it’s a lot of fun,” Sgt. Wilson said. “You can see the excitement and appreciation on their faces.”
Wilson and the other policemen and the firemen enjoy Shop with a Cop as a means of giving back to the community. It also gives the kids a positive image of policemen and firemen. Often times when people have dealings with policemen or firemen, it may not be a good situation.
Shop with a Cop shows the other side of law enforcement and first responders, which is important for the kids to see.
Sgt. Wilson said he has had customers at the store see what the police are doing for the kids. They approached the officers and thanked them for what they are doing for the kids. Wilson said they get lots of compliments and some people even take pictures.
Shop with a Cop is good in so many ways. It helps make Christmas brighter for families, it offers the officers a way to give back to the community and it provides a means to bridge the relationship between the public and law enforcement in a positive manner. It’s a win-win situation.