On Saturday morning, December 13, Highway 69 from Prescott to Prescott Valley saw a line of law enforcement vehicles with their lights flashing and sirens on, but the caravan was not about catching a perpetrator, it was about escorting 80 at-risk children to the Shop With a Cop program, this year held at KMart.
The 17th annual event involves Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Yavapai College and Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe police departments, Yavapai County Sheriff's Department and Arizona Transportation, and the Division of Public Safety and Game and Fish departments.
Each one of the 80 children, ranging in age from 7 to 12, are referred from area schools, Child Protective Services, Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters, West Yavapai Guidance Clinic, the American Red Cross and other organizations, and are assigned their very own officer who helps them pick out presents for them and their families. Each child this year received $275, which was funded 100% by donations. Local cheerleaders helped with gift wrapping.
The event kicked off at Yavapai College in Prescott, where each child was introduced to an officer from one of the agencies volunteering their time.
Santa Claus arrived in a Native Air Helicopter at the KMart parking lot to meet the children, where they then had breakfast provided by Kmart before shopping with their assigned officer.
For more information about Shop with a Cop, call Sgt. Dave Fuller at 777-1915 or send a donation to The Prescott Police Department, 222 S. Marina St., Prescott, AZ 86303. Checks should be made payable to the City of Prescott; include a note that it is for Shop with a Cop.