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Program shows the true holiday spirit

It seems that news has been full of interactions between police and civilians that have gone terribly wrong.

That’s one reason why the Shop With a Cop events conducted by the area’s police and sheriff’s department are important. It is a relief to see police interaction in a positive light.

For the most part, the men and women who make up our police forces are fine public servants. Police work is difficult and challenges each officer to his or her limits. Our police often see people at their worst, their most vulnerable and — sometimes — their most dangerous.

It also must be a relief for them to see children at their best, often passing over themselves to choose toys and gifts for loved ones, full of excitement at the approaching holiday and full of trust in their new friends — the police officers paired with them as their shopping buddies. As the officers spend time with the children, getting to know them, the children also get to know the officers — as friends, as positive influences and as human beings.

The tradition lives on around our area. At each event, a member of law enforcement is paired with a child from a family that might not be as fortunate as others in our region. Together, they choose gifts up to a maximum dollar amount. In some instances, each family also leaves with a turkey or ham for their Christmas dinner.

It gives local officers the chance to show their kind hearts and commitment to the community and our children.

The holidays will pass and the children eventually will grow out of their new toys and clothes, but they will never forget what these officers did — they took the time to listen and make them feel special and valued.

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