CLEVELAND, Okla. – Police officers joined forces to make a big impact on their small-town communities this past holiday season.
“Shop with a Cop is a program that the [Larry Crabtree] Fraternal Order of Police participates in,” Cleveland Police Officer Steven Underwood said. “It is basically a way to help families in need during Christmas time.”
The Larry Crabtree Fraternal Order Of Police (FOP) raised more than $8,000 for their second ever ‘Shop with a Cop’ event. The program brought together officers from both the Pawnee and Cleveland Police Departments. for the largest event of the year.
This Christmas officer took 45 kids shopping, which is more than three times as many as they took last year.
“This is a way for us to interact with kids on a different level,” Cleveland Police Officer Jeremiah Godfrey said. “Last year I got to take two kids that I actually went on a call that year, for domestic violence case, so getting to deal with those kids in that light was awesome.”
Officer Underwood, the FOP President, said ‘Shop with a Cop’ is an event the whole department looks forward to each year.
“I always try my best to help in situations,” Underwood said, “But as Police Officers, we don’t make a lot of money, so I can donate my time and my efforts and make someone’s Christmas special that means the world to me.”
Officer Godfrey, said ‘Shop with a Cop’ shines a positive light on interactions with police officers, which is important because too often children see police during negative circumstances. He said taking the kids shopping impacts every officer in their own way, but for him the best part is when he is able to see smiles on the faces of the children
“Every time we get to this time of the year I am thinking about calls I went on or kids that I would like to interact with to help them see the side of law enforcement where they are really trying to help their families and the community,” Godfrey said.
Besides shopping, this year the officers were able to treat the kids to a meal and donuts.
While the officers are the ones shopping with the children, they said the program would not be possible without the support of the entire community.