Last night the annual Shop-With-A-Cop (SWAC) program rolled into Walmart. Absolutely not to be confused with SWAT.
The program was birthed years ago by Wake Forest Police Detectives Kim Warren and Cindy Perry as a way for the WFPD to offer another awesome community service.
For more on this fantastic program and inside details, see this story.
The premise of the program is WFPD helps special Wake Forest children pick out $175 in holiday gifts and the kids pick how they want to spend it. They often use part of that money to buy gifts for others and as we observed some of the officers reach into their own pockets to help out as well. We would be remiss if we forgot to mention the generosity and cooperation of the Wake Forest Walmart in supporting this program.
The mission last night at Xmas dark thirty was to roll up in a bus with kids and cops and get the shopping on.
First to arrive in the back of a squad car was a jolly man. Like that ever happens that much.
After entering the store it looked like a traffic enforcement unit would be required as cops, kids, and carts all competed for the same space. Everyone was excited to get their shopping game on.
Detective Sattler dropped Orlando into a cart and made an end run around other officers.
The shopping began and officers were not only tasked with watching over the kids, helping them pick out gifts, being awesome friends, but also keeping tabs on how much was being spent. Multitasking at its finest.
Even Wake Forest Police Chief Jeff “Little Pony” Leonard was in on the action. With help from his daughter he assisted in selecting the right Little Pony for his new friend.
Soon kids, and shopping, and cops, and smiles were busting out all across the toy section. Officer Dillard even had to pursue his shopping partner as he wisely sped up his shopping on a Razor scooter.
But the shopping event required police skills as well. Officer Bitting is seen utilizing his best SWAT negotiation skills to help Camille understand buying chocolate was not part of the deal.
The best kids outfit of the night had to go to little Dominic with Officer Albert. Dominic’s shirt said “It’s All Fun and Games Until Santa Finds Out.”
Lt. Mote helped Rylan pick out lots of toys.
Mote did his best to use his skills as a toy whisperer and resisted the urge to break out into a full rendition of “What Does the Fox Say.”
After about an hour in the store things began to wind up and checkout ensued. Jhadin was entirely excited about his haul.
By the end of the shopping both Sgt. May and Travon had become friends and thoroughly enjoyed the event.
Just being there and watching both the cops and kids we think they both equally enjoyed the experience as a community. The uniforms melted away as the officers just became amazing friends to Wake Forest kids who deserved a bit of Christmas cheer.
You don’t have to love the police to just appreciate good people doing good things.
So next time you see a Wake Forest Police Officer out and about, wish them a Merry Christmas and give them a wave. It’s a gift they’d love to get.