Early Saturday morning, December 21, officers from the Salt River Police Department and staff from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Social Services Department accompanied youth during the annual Shop With a Cop event, held for children who are wards of the court or are in need of Christmas gifts.
The Community’s Shop With a Cop is sponsored by the Police Officers of Scottsdale Association (POSA). Overall, more than a dozen law-enforcement agencies throughout metro Phoenix participate in Shop With a Cop, which benefits over 300 at-risk youth.
For the group from Salt River, the morning started with a special breakfast for 26 lucky children ages seven to 14 and officers of the Salt River Police Department at the Courtyard Marriott Salt River. After breakfast, everyone drove with a police escort to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in North Scottsdale.
“This was my first year to be a part of Shop with a Cop and I thought it went very well,” said Social Worker I Amy Lyn Fa’atoafe of the SRPMIC Social Services Department. Fa’atoafe oversaw the event with the youth from Salt River.
“We’re fortunate,” said SRPD Chief Patrick Melvin. “We serve in a great Community. This is the best part of my job—making kids smile. I’m just happy to be in a position to do this,” and he hustled off to check on some young shoppers.
Officers were paired with children and each team had a gift card with $150 to spend. They strolled up and down the aisles of the store, picking out gifts for themselves and for their siblings as well.
“Today was a good day because I got to pick out anything I wanted,” said a 12-year-old boy from Salt River. A 13-year-old boy, also from Salt River, said that he liked that he got to spend time with police officers and also “get free things.”
“This morning we got to play games with the police and I got to put stickers all over an officer. It was fun. And also I wanted Monster High things,” said an 8-year-old girl from Salt River while walking through the aisles with her officer in search of the toys.
The children were allowed to purchase clothing, coats, shoes, food, bicycles, toys and electronics. Shop With a Cop also provides a chance for the youth to see police officers in a positive light.