By Colleen Machado, Fort Campbell CourierDecember 18, 2008
HOPKINSVILLE, KY -- Five Fort Campbell and 15 Christian County children were picked up Dec. 11 by police on charges of good conduct with intent to shop.
Little did they know, a few minutes later they would add disturbing the peace to their list of offenses.
The Hopkinsville, Ky. Wal-Mart parking lot was serene and quiet, until the detainees arrived in 25 police vehicles with sirens blaring and lights flashing.
Smiling faces exited the vehicles as they entered the store armed with their officer and $100 to shop for their family members.
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event has been going on for 15 years, according to Henry Gould, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The program offers the opportunity for area children in need to be able to shop for their family members for Christmas.
The officers are paired with a child to help them shop and keep them within their spending limit.
"We have fundraisers to pay for this," Gould said. "It's all possible through donations. This was one of our better years."
Master Sgt. Casey Freeman, Provost Marshal's Office, and third grader Boyce Hernandez grabbed a shopping cart and were on their way into the toy section.
"Do I push the cart all night'" Freeman asked, smiling down at Boyce.
"Yes!" Boyce insisted.
Boyce was looking intently for Littlest Pet Shop toys for his younger sister. "I hope she takes care of it. The dog likes to chew on them."
The children were able to connect with their assigned officers as they rode together in the police vehicles. "He and his dad play chess together so I think he wants to find a set for his dad," Freeman said.
"This is pretty enjoyable. I wasn't expecting this many kids," Freeman said. This is only his third week at Fort Campbell.
Meanwhile, fifth grader Jade Parker was on the hunt for Wall-E for her younger brother.
Captain Joel Schuldt, 551st Military Police Co., accompanied her on the search. "I think this is great idea. I've never seen this before," he said.
Jade was all smiles as she talked about riding in the police car. "It was cool. I got to blow the horn."
Members of the lodge from the Christian County Jail, Fort Campbell Military Police, Hopkinsville Police, Oak Grove Police, Department of the Army civilian police, Christian County Sheriff's Department, and Green River Corrections volunteered for this event.
"We shop beforehand for the kids. They each get a present from Santa that their parent identified they wanted," Joe Varney, Suicide Prevention Program manager, said.
Wal-Mart also donated $1000 for this year's event.
After shopping, the children were brought back to the lodge for pizza, gift wrapping with their officer and a special present from Santa.
"We are also giving away 150 food baskets this year. People will be able to have a complete Christmas dinner," Gould said.