Annual ‘Shop with a cop’ list grows | ParkRecord.com

Annual ‘Shop with a cop’ list grows

Each year, the list of families that are referred for the Fraternal Order of Police’s annual ‘Shop with a Cop’ event grows longer as more families are subject to circumstances that prevent them from buying holiday gifts for their loved ones.

"Right now we are looking at about 70 kids. Our target is 60, but because of the amount we received from the schools this year we will go a little higher even though it’s more than we had anticipated," said Mikel Archibeque, Park City Police Officer and Fraternal Order of Police lodge trustee.

Law enforcement officials from several agencies across the Wasatch Back are gearing up to offer the annual program to the area’s underprivileged children. On Saturday, Dec. 5, volunteers from the Park City Police Department, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Kamas City Police Department, Utah Department of Public Safety and Natural Resources, federal agencies, and the U.S. Forest Service, will be paired with the children to shop for gifts for the holiday season.

The children will eat breakfast with the officers and visit with Santa before taking a ‘lights and sirens ride’ to Walmart for a $150 shopping spree, up $50 from last year. Recipients are referred through local churches, Peace House, Summit County Children’s Justice Center and the county’s three school districts. The referrals are typically for toddler-aged children through middle school students. High school students are given gift cards.

"This is our biggest community event that we do each year and for me, as well as the other officers, we really look forward to it," Archibeque said.

Most of the children’s purchases are selfless and are often for other family members, Archibeque said, which led to the increased amount. May years, officers reach into their own wallets to contribute toward the purchases, which can include bikes, toys, games and clothes.

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"There seems to be a lot of that and I have been very fortunate of the kids that have shopped with me are always wanting to take care of their family," he said. "That’s why we opened up the amount beyond the $100 because it became a matter ‘let’s get something for you at least and we don’t care about the price.’"

Donations come in from the Park City Police Department, Park City Municipal, individual businesses, including Berkshire Hathaway and Dr. Steven Mobley, and members and families of the Fraternal Order of Police. Roughly $9,000 has been collected.

The Fraternal Order of Police will continue to accept donations for the program up until the day of the event. Contributions may be dropped off at the Park City Police Station, 2060 Park Avenue, mailed to Park City FOP, PO Box 681394, Park City, UT, 84068-1394, or online at http://www.youcaring.com/parkcityfop .

"It’s important to have events like this when you think about the public relations with police across the nation. I don’t think in Park City we are viewed negatively, but we don’t want it to get to that point," Archibeque said. "These are preemptive steps we are taking t o stay involved with the community that can help curb that image if something negative does ever happen."

The Fraternal Order of Police is still seeking donations for the ‘Shop with a Cop’ program. For more information contact Mikel Archibeque at 435- 615-5500.