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‘It’s pretty amazing.’ Shop with a Cop in Bonneville County celebrating 30 years.

A previous Shop with a Cop event in Bonneville County. |
AMMON — Local law enforcement are celebrating a major milestone this weekend with an annual Christmas tradition that benefits children for the holidays.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Shop with a Cop in Bonneville County. The event pairs officers and deputies with local children for a meal and a holiday shopping spree.
“It’s pretty amazing. It’s something that everyone looks forward to. It really makes a difference in some of the lives of these kids,” said Sgt. Bryan Lovell with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.
Bonneville County’s Shop with a Cop began in 1993 with a group of K-Mart employees and deputies from the sheriff’s office who got together and planned the first event. It’s been happening ever since, thanks to generous donations from the community and local businesses.
This year’s event will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9.
Everyone starts at the Eagles Lodge in Idaho Falls. Parents and guardians bring their children and they are paired up with cops. A delicious breakfast is served.
Then, they head to Target in Ammon to pick out presents.
“We load up in the marked cars. That’s a time the kids get in the cars and play with the sirens and they talk on the radio. Santa Claus a lot of times, gets on the radio and talks to them,” Lovell said.
Each child is given a budget of approximately $250 for the shopping spree for their entire family. Lovell explained at least 30 to 40 kids are helped each year who have been exposed to traumatic or abusive situations.
“It’s a chance to sort of help them bond and have a happy moment with our first responders,” Lovell said.
Presents are later wrapped after the shopping experience.
Lovell says one of his favorite parts about Shop with a Cop is watching the kids transform from being shy in the beginning to being happy by the end of the event.
“I get to see over a couple of hours that nervousness go away, and they are having fun. They’ve got big smiles on their face,” he said. “That just speaks volumes at how special this event is.”
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Falls Police Department, Idaho Fish and Game, Idaho Probation and Parole, and others participate in the local Shop with a Cop event.
As part of celebrating three decades of the event, Lovell said there have been many people asking how they can help make the event more special.
As a result, people are encouraged to donate to Shop with a Cop through the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center. Donations have been open since Nov. 30 and will be for 30 days to celebrate 30 years of Shop with a Cop. Click here to donate.
The post ‘It’s pretty amazing.’ Shop with a Cop in Bonneville County celebrating 30 years. appeared first on East Idaho News.

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