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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

Spreading Joy: Shop with a Cop Connects Law Enforcement and Community

Attending this year's "Shop with a Cop" event was nothing short of a blessing, especially since I missed out on the excitement last year. Let me tell you, the sounds that filled the air were absolutely incredible.

I had almost forgotten the joy that comes from hearing hundreds of children happily navigating the aisles of Walmart, carefully selecting their very own Christmas presents. It's a true testament that Christmas has arrived when you witness the contagious smiles on those little faces.

The event brought together Officers and Detectives from the Ashland Police Division, Deputies from the Ashland County Sheriff's Office, Troopers from the Ashland Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol, Rangers from the Division of Wildlife, Firefighters, and Dispatchers from the 911 call center, all accompanied by real-life heroes from Ashland County, as they made their way through the store.

Over 400 children had the opportunity to experience the spirit of Christmas, with their eyes sparkling and smiles stretching from ear to ear.

Each child would receive a printed-out gift sheet, allowing them to spend up to $125.00 on Christmas gifts for themselves. But out of that budget, they would also purchase a $5.00 to $10.00 gift for the Ashland Fire Department's Red Helmet Christmas, benefiting charities like The Ashland Salvation Army and the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.

Detective Kara Pearce played a pivotal role in coordinating the event. Also, Detective Brad Scarl and his wife made the Santa Keys with QR codes that would allow the children to watch Santa fly across the world, delivering presents to kids everywhere.

Once they reached the toy aisle, most children already had their minds set on what they wanted, while others were simply too excited to make a decision. It was heartwarming to see the officers enjoying the event just as much as the children did.

One parent shared their perspective on the Shop with a Cop program, explaining that as a single parent facing difficulties, they opted for this program so their kids could have a day to choose something for themselves.

The children were not only grateful for the opportunity to find gifts, but also eager to donate to others in need. Witnessing families walking with law enforcement officers from Ashland County was truly awe-inspiring.

Despite living in a small town, it was a beautiful reminder that positive relationships can be formed between civilians and law enforcement, particularly during the Christmas season, when parents are often stressed and trying to make ends meet. She believed the officers went beyond their duty, engaging with the children and parents, making the experience all the more special.

This entire event was nothing short of heartwarming and left a lasting impression on all who were involved.


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