Mountain Outreach, a ministry hosted by University of the Cumberlands, recently donated $5,000 to the Williamsburg Police Department (WPD) for the Department’s upcoming Shop with a Cop event.

Jason Caddell, Chief of Police, said, “I really enjoy this event. For police officers, most of the time we deal with kids, it’s during a tough situation. So, the kids naturally start associating us with situations like that. At Shop with a Cop, it’s totally different. We get to be a lot more relaxed, a lot more fun. Everything’s good.”

Roddy Harrison, mayor of Williamsburg, added, “Shop with a Cop is probably the most heart-warming event the Department does. It’s always a lot of fun.”

The 2022 WPD Shop with a Cop event will be held on December 15th at the Williamsburg Walmart.

Shop with a Cop is an annual event in which registered children, who have been selected by the family resource officers at their schools, are escorted through a store by police officers, who help them find Christmas gifts for themselves. Each child may choose as many items as they want – up to a certain dollar amount – and the WPD purchases the items as Christmas gifts for them. It’s a gesture of kindness from the Williamsburg police force to local children and an event the WPD looks forward to every year.

Said Chief Caddell, “Sometimes, kids will come into the store and go, ‘Oh, that guy! I want to shop with him!’ because they remember us from last year.”

Mayor Harrison and the Mountain Outreach staff and volunteers will also be present to help with the Shop with a Cop event.

Chief Caddell said the donation from Mountain Outreach will be helpful, giving the Department “a little extra leeway” so the children can purchase quality gifts they’ll enjoy.

Mayor Harrison mentioned a family the WPD served last year that included a mom and several kids. They children went through the store and picked gifts with a police officer, then gathered their bags, and the mom said, “Okay, let’s go!” and they started walking – never getting into a car. It was cold and raining outside. When the volunteers realized the family was walking home, a volunteer gave the family a ride home so they could stay dry and warm.

Harrison said, “Somebody asked me a while ago, ‘What’s the ultimate goal?’ That we don’t have any kids signed up. That everyone’s families are doing so well financially that nobody needs to sign up. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Until then, Mountain Outreach will continue helping the cause.