Originally Published: December 16, 2018 7:26 p.m.
As he perused the electronics section with Kobe, 12, on Saturday morning, Dec. 15, at the Walmart on Glassford Hill Road, Prescott Valley Police Officer Brandon Kelly remembered participating in the first local Shop with a Cop event 21 years ago.
Back then, it was at Kmart, and at 9 years old, he was one of the kids shopping, Kelly said.
Having moved back 18 years later, it was special for him to be one of those cops taking the kids shopping in the same town for the same event, he said.
Kobe said he was having a great time, too, from the “amazing” ride in the police car to being able to pick and choose from Walmart’s selection.
“It’s the best experience I’ve had yet in my lifetime,” he said.
While on the way to the Walmart, the two of them connected over “Avengers: Infinity War” and shared their theories on how the upcoming film “Avengers: Endgame” will go, Kelly said. They also played Christmas music over the car’s intercom.
“That was cool,” he said. “They didn’t know who it was coming from and then we told them it was us. Definitely awesome.”
Kobe was one of 73 kids partnered with officers from numerous area law enforcement agencies including Prescott Police Department, Prescott Valley Police Department, Chino Valley Police Department and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
Thanks to donations and support by volunteers throughout the community, Shop with a Cop began at Yavapai College where the kids and officers left in a lights-and-siren procession all the way to Walmart. There, they had $250 for shopping and got to enjoy breakfast and visit Santa.
The event is a focal point of many officers’ holidays, and Prescott Police Chief Debora Black said she was having a lot of fun with Kaylee, 9.
“Kaylee is so generous and so interested in getting exactly what her family members want,” Black said. “She came here with that idea.”
Black said she appreciates all of the officers who gave up their time with their own families to participate in Shop with a Cop. Sometimes, the families will even meet them at Walmart and become a part of it, she said. As a whole, it’s a special thing for the kids who might not have had the opportunity to talk to an officer or see a police officer as a person, Black said.
Similarly, Chino Valley Police Officer Roger Brown said he enjoys meeting and interacting with the kids, showing them that officers are people and much more than just authority figures.
Brown was paired with Rachel, 8, and said Shop with a Cop is a favorite of his.
“I look forward to it every year,” he said.
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