Police don't need guns when shopping with kids

Editor:

In your December 24-27 issue, an article by Aaron Osowski covered "Shop with a Cop," where law enforcement officers pair with local children in need for Christmas shopping as a display of good will from the officers. These officers take the children Christmas shopping in a "lights-and-sirens procession," fully dressed in their work uniform. Martinez states that some parents can feel uncomfortable around the police because they've been arrested; the event, then, becomes a parade to show parents that "these officers ... are here to take care of my child" (Sgt. Andrew Wright). As for the children: "We don't want [children's] interaction with law enforcement to be negative" (Capt. Justin Martinez).

According to an article on "shopwithacoputah.com," and as far as I can tell from photos published with your story, the officers' full uniforms mean they also bring their batons and guns. If the officers want to impact these children by spending time with them, I don't agree with doing it equipped with weapons. It's yet another example of our law enforcement officers being and trying to look like soldiers; in this case, "good" soldiers. Maybe they should just be civilians here to serve the community, and not soldiers at all; doesn't that seem like a much better option if they "don't want [children's] interactions with law enforcement to be negative"? According to