Streetsboro – The Streetsboro Police Department held its annual Holiday Shop with a Cop on Saturday, December 8th. Working in conjunction with Streetsboro City School District as well as officers who had knowledge of the needs of local families, forty-one children were selected to participate in the event.The day started with families meeting at the police station with the police officers and National Guardsmen who volunteered their time to the event. Over fifty volunteers helped facilitate the shopping day.
Once the children were paired up with their officer, they all climbed into their parade-vehicles, which consisted of an array of police cars as well as military vehicles courtesy of the Nation Guard, and made their way with sirens blaring and lights flashing to the Streetsboro Wal-Mart. The National Guard became involved because, according to Lieutenant Darin Powers, “one of our officers is in the military reserves. He actually brings some of his reservists out to help with this too, and thats where we get some of the military vehicles involved.”
That officer is Staff Sargent Justin Leidel. “We needed a way to get the Guard more involved in the community. I asked my unit, they were more than accommodating for us. They gave us four humvees and a big truck in addition to soldiers.”
Each child was allotted $100 to spend at the store, and the officers and soldiers walked, often hand-in-hand, with the children and helped them select their items. The funds for this event, according to Lieutenant Powers, are accrued “through donations from businesses in the city as well as individuals. We depend wholly on donations for this.”
After everyone had piled back into their respective vehicles and made their way back to the police station, lunch was served as the soldiers and officers unpacked and distributed the gifts.
The Streetsboro Police Department has been holding this event for many years, and even with the difficult economy, donations have continued to come in to support it. However, they have found there are more families in need than there have been in the past, and they have increased the number of children selected from twenty-five to forty-one because of the needs of the city. Each year, they try to take children that have not had the opportunity to participate before.