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Shop with a Cop schedules June fundraisers to benefit area children
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (June 5, 2010) — Christmas is still six months away, but Deputy Gwendolyn Miles of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department is already working with local law enforcement agencies to raise money for the annual Shop with a Cop program that provides Christmas gifts for needy children.

“Need knows no season, and with the economy being the way that it is, starting early helps us provide for more children in the county,” said Miles, who is in her third year as director of the multi-agency program.

Miles has been in local law enforcement for six years and realizes that not all families have a positive opinion of police. Shop with a Cop helps build trust between children and police, she said, by giving children the opportunity to go to Wal-Mart and spend time buying Christmas gifts with a police officer.

“It is such a great program,” Miles said. “You go to these houses and the children are there and they are innocent completely. It doesn’t matter what their situation is that day. If there is something we can do to give back to the community it helps all around. It helps community policing; it builds good relationships between officers and families and children.”

The Shop with a Cop program generally provides $100 for each child to shop.

“Of course we always try to do better we did the year before, and last year we brought in about $17,000 of which we spent every penny of it, not leaving a whole lot for budgeting this year to order new products, T-shirts and stuff like that.”

While Shop with a Cop organizers don’t have much seed money available to purchase T-shirts and other items that are then sold at a profit to benefit the cause, they do have T-shirts from prior years and those will be going on sale this month.

“We’re going to be standing outside Wal-Mart on Friday the 11th from 9 to 5 and we’ll have some T-shirts. The T-shirts will be from the last two years, however, they’re going to be going at a discounted price,” Miles said.

On Monday, June 14, officers will be raising money at Pizza Hut by serving customers as waiters and waitresses while wearing full police uniforms.

“This is always a fantastic event,” Miles said. “People come out and they get to be served by the police department.”

At the Pulaski County Fair, event organizers plan to be present on Saturday, June 19, and may be putting police in a dunk tank.

“Of course there’s no retaliation; it’s all in good fun and we’ll have a great time,” Miles said.

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