Last week I wrote about our annual Shop With a Cop at Mesa Mall. We actually do another, similar event each year as well, and today we teamed up with the Grand Junction Fire Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, and Hilltop’s Latimer House to take 12 very deserving kids shopping at the Rimrock Wal-Mart. You probably won’t see quite as much coverage in the media of this one simply because many of the kids involved can’t have their faces or identities shown on TV or in the paper. The fact that they are staying at Latimer House means they are dealing with some very difficult situations, which make it very easy to understand why they are so deserving of a day to go shopping for Christmas presents for their family members.
For people who can’t understand why a bunch of cops and fire fighters would take time out of their busy days to do this for these kids, a statement from one of the youngsters involved in today’s event may help. A little girl told the officer she was shopping with, “Yeah, the cops come to my house a lot. They arrested my mommy.” For far too many kids in our community, the only image they have of a police officer is what they saw when the cops came to take mommy or daddy to jail. Those images don’t go away easily, and can have long-term impacts on future interactions that child has with law enforcement. A few hours out of one day each year showing these kids that the cops are not the bad guys and that they are someone the kid can trust and rely on for help can go a long way in creating positive relationships that last a lifetime. That is truly priceless.
A big thanks goes out to the folks at the Rimrock Wal-Mart for helping to make today’s shopping possible.
Additional photos are posted on Facebook.