BATTLE GROUND — Nineteen kids spent the morning of Dec. 4 at the Battle Ground Walmart shopping for gifts for their families and items for themselves. Ten Battle Ground police officers who volunteer for this special Shop with a Cop assignment accompanied them.
Participating children were nominated for the Shop with a Cop program for their exemplary citizenship and academic efforts by staff from Battle Ground Public Schools and Rocksolid Teen Center, according to a news release from the city of Battle Ground.
Each child was given a $130 gift card, as much time as they needed to shop with their cop and assistance from a Walmart store associate.
One of the department’s newest officers, Luke James, participated in the Shop with a Cop program with another agency when he was just 8 years old. Officer James cited his experience as one of his earliest memories inspiring him toward a career in law enforcement.
Battle Ground’s annual Shop with a Cop would not be possible without the ongoing support of the Walmart Foundation that, this year alone, provided a $2,500 Walmart Community Grant to fund the program. This is Walmart’s seventh year of supporting Battle Ground’s Shop with a Cop program.
Several shoppers who witnessed and were touched by the event gave $160 in donations for next year’s program – enough to sponsor another child.
“We are so grateful for the support of Walmart and from the community,” Police Chief Mike Fort said. “These kids are absolutely deserving of this special day, and our officers appreciate the opportunity to further build relationships with the community we serve. Officer James’ story is a great example of how even one positive connection in a child’s life may carry a lasting impact.”