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Second annual Shop with a Cop event puts smiles on local children’s faces

For the second year, local sponsors helped Hartselle Police Department spread a little Christmas spirit for children in Hartselle through the Shop with a Cop event.  

Eleven children were selected to participate in this year’s event, each receiving $200 to spend on themselves at Walmart and $25 to spend on a gift or gifts for others.  

Sponsored by the Hartselle and Decatur chapters of Woodmen of the World, the Hartselle Kiwanis Club and the HPD Citizens Police Academy Alumni Associationthe event grew both in participation and financial resources this year, according to Chief Justin Barley.  

In addition to the funds raised by sponsors, three private citizens made anonymous donations to help fund the event that totaled more than $2,000.  

Barley said staff members at each of the three elementary schools and the intermediate school helped his department identify children who would enjoy participating in Shop with a Cop.  

“We added a couple of children with special needs this year who are involved with Shining Stars,” he said. “We had a late entry the day after the third person came by the PD to make a donation to the event, so it worked perfectly.”  

Last year children were escorted to Walmart in patrol cars and then treated to a pizza party after the event, but this year, Barley said changes had to be made because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We couldn’t do the pizza party for obvious reasons,” he said. “We split the group in half to keep the crowd down, and Pizza Ed gave each kid a gift certificate for a large pizza.  

Other treats and gifts were provided by Sweet Sensations and BeFrizz. 

Walmart made each child a gift bag with a gloveandtoboggan set and provided the space to wrap all the gifts – and they donated all the wrapping paper and supplies,” he added. “They were very good hosts and gave us a designated checkout place and let us take over that portion of the store.”  

Among the HPD officers involved were Investigator Tania Burgess, Sgt. Lynn DeanOfficer Lakeisha AtkinsLt. Patrick GriffithSRO Zeke EubanksSgt. Michael HudsonOfficer Randy DenneyCapt. Robert FinnSRO Robert Baker and Lt. Linda Fox 

“It’s something we enjoy as much as the kids, Barley said. “The opportunities to interact with children during positive circumstances are kind of rare, so we love to take advantage of that.”