Ten elementary school children arrived Friday morning at the Lacey Police Department for what they thought was a ride-along with the cops.
But there was a surprise twist to this field trip — an eye-popping shopping spree.
In its seventh year, Shop with a Cop brings extra holiday joy to 10 children who attend the Boys & Girls Club in Lacey.
“We’re going to do something special with you today,” said Det. Miguel Stansberry, the event organizer, before announcing the real purpose of their ride-along. The kids and cops huddled like a football team about to take the field, then embarked in a motorcade of lights and sirens to their first destination.
Each child got $50 to spend at Walmart on Galaxy Drive, along with unlimited access to a pallet full of toys. Kids buddied up with officers and filled their carts with toys such as remote control cars, board games, Barbie dolls and teddy bears.
Some children had their own shopping lists. One child picked out scented candles for his mother.
Each year, club branch director Shellica Trevino chooses 10 children who will benefit most from Shop with a Cop. Many of the children come from struggling families. The event is an opportunity for the kids to build a positive relationship with law enforcement officers or receive extra mentoring, she said.
Trevino also praised Lacey police for their ongoing contributions to the Boys & Girls Club, noting that the cops cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for the club last month.
“They’ve always been there for our kids,” Trevino said.
After Walmart, the group headed to Northwest Harley-Davidson on Freedom Lane. The kids toured the store, sat on bikes and left with die-cast toy motorcycles.
“It’s just fun for us,” owner Julio Valdenegro said.
The final stop for Shop with a Cop was the Hawks Prairie Best Buy, where each child received $200 to spend on anything in the store.
Many gifts for the event were donated by the retailers, and additional proceeds were raised by Lacey’s police unions.
Andy Hobbs: 360-704-6869