The Salt River Police Department (SRPD), Explorer Post 909 and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community children took part in the 10th annual Shop with a Cop event on Saturday, December 22.
The morning started out with breakfast at the Granite Reef Senior Center, where 20 Community youth joined other children from the Scottsdale area. Following breakfast, they were given a police escort to Wal-Mart in north Scottsdale, where they took photos with Santa and began their shopping spree, each child shopping alongside a police officer.
Angie, 11, shopped with SRPD Detective Vicente Cendejas. She appeared overjoyed at all of the One Direction merchandise that was in the store. She went for a pair of One Direction pajamas, a life-sized poster of a One Direction member and a new bicycle.
“I love my bike and One Direction poster,” said Angie. “Thank you [Shop with a Cop] for letting me do this, since I didn’t get to do it last year.”
Other youth paired up with SRPD officers and Explorers and also went for toys, games and bicycles.
“It’s a good thing for the Community. It teaches children that cops are actually humans, not just some machine with a gun and a badge taking people in,” said SRPD Explorer Efrim Corona. “They can be happy with their families and have a real Christmas, because they might have not had one if they weren’t able to participate.”
In the week prior to the annual event, a Shop with a Cop event for teenagers was held on Sunday, December 16 at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Five teens from the Community partnered with SRPD officers to buy whatever they wanted for the holiday season. Prior to shopping, the teens met in the food court for breakfast; after their shopping, they were able to take a photo with Santa.
“It’s an opportunity for me to give back to the Community and help the youth; [it also gives me] a different perspective in life,” said SRPD Lieutenant II James Sutphen, about participating in the Shop with a Cop event. “We have come a long ways from the small experience to where we are now. I have watched some of the kids who have been a part of Shop with a Cop [in the past], and now they are adults and volunteering themselves.”
*Note: Due to children under the Salt River Community Court system we are unable to provide last names and face photos of the children who participated in the Shop with a Cop event.