There’s nothing more fun than buying your own presents… except buying them with a Lacey police officer.
That’s what 9-year-old Quin Dereon said Friday morning as he climbed into Detective Miguel Stansberry’s police car.
Stansberry pulled into traffic behind a line of Lacey police cars, all carrying officers and excited children to Walmart.
While riding in a patrol car with officers Rich Broeker and Derek Sanders, 10-year-old Carlie Tharp made a shopping list for the trip. She said she didn’t want to spend all of the $250 donated by Walmart on presents for herself. She made sure to pick up gifts for her whole family.
But Carlie didn’t leave the store without any presents for herself. She picked out two large stuffed animals, which she calls “stuffies,” and loaded three Barbie dolls into her cart.
“Now I’m relieved,” Carlie said because she was able to find the dolls she wanted.
The Lacey Police Department has been organizing Shop with a Cop for nine years. Stansberry coordinates the event, signing up stores to donate and participate. Each year, the Lacey Boys & Girls Club picks 10 children to participate.
“We’ve had 90 kids do this in 9 years, and we’ve loved it every year,” said Shellica Trevino, director of operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County.
This year, the group stopped at Walmart first. The company donated $250 per children to use for purchases — plus, a large bin of toys that they could take for free.
Santa Claus greeted the group at the door, and employees handed out cupcakes and juice.
Quin entered the store hoping to find a remote control helicopter or drone. He walked out with a large remote control car, a skateboard and a drone.
“I’m going to put it up in the sky and videotape everything,” Quin said.
The group traveled next to Northwest Harley-Davidson, where the children posed for photos on a motorcycle. Employees gave a tour of the store’s service department and workshop, then handed out bags full of goodies.
Northwest Harley-Davidson has participated in Shop with a Cop for several years, and store co-owner Joe Deck said hosting the group is always a pleasure.
“It’s fun for the kids, and it’s fun for us,” Deck said.
The final stop on the journey was Olympic Cards and Comics, where the children were given $125 to spend on comic book paraphernalia, football cards and movie figurines.
Upstairs, store owner Gabi Trautmann offered the group hot chocolate and hot apple cider. She also handed out stockings filled with stickers, gloves and toys.
Stansberry said this year’s Shop with a Cop was an overwhelming success.
“In fact, I think it was the best one yet,” Stansberry said.