reviewed: Shop with a cop

Kyle Nelson


Children will have another opportunity to shop with a cop this holiday season.

Officer Michael Simmons of the Richfield Police Department is the president of the program but is not alone. There are 31 other police departments that have thrown their proverbial hat in the ring to take less fortunate children shopping at the Wal-Mart in Stow.

For every $100 in raffle tickets the police department sells, they are able to take a child shopping. Last year’s program took 294 kids.

“After all these years COMMA, it’s taken on a life of its own,” Simmons said.

“It’s been great. We’ve had kids return and parents come back seeing a difference in the way their kids behave. Nobody has ever had anything negative to say.”

The Shop With a Cop program takes children on an as-need AS-NEEDED basis. Parents can call in or organizations can nominate people they think this will benefit.

“It’s not meant to be an embarrassing thing,” Simmons said. “The whole thing is to help people and not put anybody down.”

Simmons also said that it’s not only the families that benefit from this experience.

“You can’t underestimate what this does to an officer,” he said.

“You have a tendency to think of all kids as bad. It really is an eye opener for the officer as well. To me, that’s what really makes the program. It’s our way of giving back to the community we work for.

“It really turns the spotlight onto something different being done by the police,” he continued. “Usually we’re just some guy in a black cop car down the street. Now it’s Officer Jim, Steve, Mike. It’s putting a personality and a face with that person. It shows that we do have a personality and we are human beings.”

The Shop With a Cop program is set for Dec. 11 at 9 a.m. Those in the program will meet at Lakeview Intermediate School in Stow. From there, the police take the kids in their cruisers to Wal-Mart and let them shop. After shopping, participants will return to the school for pizza and pop.

“The reward is looking at the kid’s faces,” Simmons said. “They don’t lie. When you see them smiling, it’s the greatest thing in the world.”

For more information, contact Office Michael Simmons at 330-659-9500.