Niles police officers to continue Shop with a Cop tradition

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Correction: An earlier publication of this article stated this event would take place on Saturday. The event will actually occur on Sunday, Dec. 13. The Niles Daily Star regrets the error and is happy to correct it.

NILES — City of Niles Police Officers and seven children from the Niles community will continue a tradition that has been in place for more than 18 years: Shop with a Cop.

Shop with a Cop has been an annual tradition for the Niles Police Department, pairing elementary students in the community with police officers for a unique experience of getting to know one another and taking a holiday shopping trip together to Walmart on S. 11th Street.

This year, according to NPD Officer Angela Caddy, there will be seven students joining officers this Sunday, Dec. 13, for the event.

“In the past, we have all had a pre-meet up to get to know the kids and show them the squad cars,” Caddy said. “We usually take group photos like a big family. We want to keep the program going this year, but we had to make some adjustments.”

Last year, for example, the children and their guardians met with the NPD officers involved with the event at Brew Ha Ha for hot chocolate before their shopping adventure, to get acquainted.

The students involved with the current trip will meet with the officers at staggered times at Walmart directly.

“This year, what we are doing to try to keep it safer is that we have asked each parent to send one guardian with their child,” Caddy said, in addition the staggered times. “There won’t be group photos or a pre-meet. We’ll have limited contact. Our officers are being given safety bags for the event.”
The safety bags include hand sanitizer, face masks and disinfectant wipes to clean the police squad vehicles before and after each meet.

When each student arrives at Walmart and meets up with the police officer they will spend time with and holiday shop with, they will receive a shopping allowance donated from the NPD and community partners. Students this year will receive $140 to do their shopping with. The children will all receive a stocking with goodies sponsored by local businesses. This year, they will also be taking home a stocking for their siblings, so they do not feel left out by the effort.

The students are nominated by educators in their elementary schools.

In addition to Walmart and the NPD, Subway, Veni’s Sweet Shop, Pizza Transit, Browns Funeral Home and J&R Specialty Printing are all pitching in to help with the trip and stockings.

“I put an email out to elementary schools,” Caddy said. “We ask for any teachers to nominated first through fifth graders who have a need based on financial hardship or emotional hardship. We take those into consideration. Then we reach out to the community and touch base.”

Caddy said sometimes it is even the officers themselves who are familiar with a family and nominate the child.

The NPD officers participating in the holiday tradition this Sunday are volunteering their time on a day off.

“They’re committed to the community,” Caddy said. “They want to be out there and reach out to the kids.”