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Children in Billings receive Christmas cheer thanks to the annual Shop with a Cop event

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Billings, Montana – The third annual Shop with a Cop is an initiative of the Billings Police Department to give back to the neighborhood while they continue to look into and prevent crime.

At MetraPark, more than fifty kids gathered to take part in an unforgettable event. Children were taken on rides in emergency vehicles by police, EMTs, firefighters, and other emergency professionals, and they were even allowed to operate the controls.

The excitement didn’t end there; officers led the children through Billings’ streets and to Walmart, where the real fun started.

Sergeant Jeffery Stovall explained the background to the shopping event and said, “Shop with a Cop is just an annual event we do around Christmas time, just to bring under-privileged kids in our community. We take them out, we start at the Metra, we do a big, long parade around town and then we end up here at the west end Walmart where they get a gift card, this year’s $350 and they go out and do Christmas shopping.”

Stovall continued, “we’ve got kids that you know they want to go right after the toys and run right to the toys and get right after that of course. Big smiles from ear to ear on their face. Some of the kids come in and they want to shop for their families too for Christmas, for mom for dad, for brother for sister and you know, it really warms your heart to see how selfless they can be too.”

Stovall hopes this event will have lasting impacts and believes Shop with a Cop is “bridging a gap between the community and law Enforcement. And a lot of times when people see police officers, it’s on one of their worst days. Today is the complete flip of that. To where we get to see these kids and have a positive interaction with them, we’re out, we’re smiling, we’re having fun. and it just goes to shows, down the road if we ever see these kids again that they can approach us, that we are humans too. It’s not just the badge, and the vest and that stuff, you know we’re out and having fun with these guys too.”

The parade and Shop with a Cop aim to spread festive pleasure among the participating children as well as the neighborhood.

Boys and Girls Club of Yellowstone County and school districts both recommended children for this year’s event.

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