The annual Shop With a Cop event returned to Carbon County once again on Saturday, Dec. 18. There were seven agencies that participated, including the Price City Police, Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, the Helper, Wellington and East Carbon Police Departments, Highway Patrol, and Adult Probation and Parole.
As per usual, the day began with a breakfast that was provided by McDonalds at no cost, though this year the breakfast was hosted at the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center on the USU Eastern campus, as the usual location is under construction.
Between all of the donations and grants, there was $6,000 available for the 45 children that were chosen this year. This amount came from two grants, including one from Walmart and one from the Utah Civilian Police Association. In addition, $1,000 came in from private donations, including one that was part of the recent Santa flight.
Sgt. Kelly Maynes, who has directed the program for nearly five years now, stated that last year had a lot of challenges due to COVID-19. This included Walmart limiting the amount of people allowed in the store at one time, not being able to gather for breakfast and not hosting the small parade to the store.
This year, being able to return to a somewhat normal routine worked out well, according to Sgt. Maynes. Another discovery made due to COVID-19, by East Carbon Police, was the utilization of the Walmart app for those that are unable to attend in person.
Sgt. Maynes wanted to stress this fact to families in order for them to be aware that if something does come up, it will not exclude children from participating. He also shared that the youth that are selected are not on a list that is created and is not something that can be signed up for. Often, the recommendations come from patrol officers, the school district and United Way.
Sgt. Maynes stated that if he could figure out how to secure enough funding to take every child in Carbon County, he would. He also said that, through Price City, there is a way to donate to Shop With a Cop anytime of the year by visiting the the utilities office. The money is collected throughout the year and used in December for the event.
In law enforcement, generally there are not many good situations that they respond to, stated Sgt. Maynes. Often, when they respond, it could be someone’s worst day. When that becomes routine, he explained that it is easy to fall into that side of how bad things can be. Sgt. Maynes said that Shop With a Cop is a great reminder for not only law enforcement, but everyone in the community to realize the positive impact that can be made.
“We could not do this type of a program without the support of the community, and our community is awesome,” shared Sgt. Maynes.
He wished to thank both the manager of McDonalds and the manager of Walmart as well as Price City for allowing them to continue to host the event. He also thanked the numerous officers that participated, as it is conducted on a volunteer basis by all of them. Appreciation was also extended to the girls of Bethel 3 that assisted in serving and sign-ups.