Santa’s officers need support for Shop with a Cop
MADAWASKA, Maine — The Madawaska Police Department is calling for donations to the police association to help officers from various agencies make this holiday special for local families in their annual Shop with a Cop event.
In Shop with a Cop, community donations allow area officers to pair up with elementary school-aged children with limited means to shop for Christmas presents for the child’s family.
The children are chosen by the school and police department and are matched up with an officer from one of the four participating law enforcement agencies: Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, and the Madawaska Police Department.
“Each year we have more and more officers wanting to volunteer their time to the point that we have more officers than children wanting to participate,” Dubois said.
The number of families helped is based on the amount of donations the police association receives. Last year, the officers were able to take 12 children shopping. The program costs about $100 per student.
“It has been one of the most successful and popular outreach programs we’ve had with the community,” said Police Chief Ross Dubois. “We’ve had good feedback from parents, teachers, students and officers.”
Dubois said the purpose of the event is to “foster positive relationships between the youth and the officers.”
“Usually when we’re dealing with the public, it is because they are not having one of their best days,” Dubois said. “Hopefully the students realize the officers are there to help and keep them safe.”
The other main reason for the event, Dubois said is to help elevate the self-esteem for the children participating while teaching them that the season is about giving more than receiving.
“It’s a good way to give back to the community,” said sgt. Garrett Albert. “It teaches them the gift of giving.”
While the school helps determine which students will get to shop with a cop, the association is still seeking donations. The tax-deductible donation can be dropped off at the police department.