20 local kids 'Shop with a Cop' for holiday gifts

(Jackson, Wyo.) - This week, 20 kids got to do their holiday shopping accompanied by a local law enforcement officer. The program, called Shop with a Cop, originally began four years ago with the former school resource officer, Charlie Wharton. According to Jackson Police Chief Todd Smith, Wharton had worked in South Dakota and had been involved in a similar program. He started the program here and the tradition has continued, even after his retirement. It has even expanded beyond the Jackson Police Department to include the Teton County Sheriff's Office, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and Wyoming Highway Patrol. "We had about 20 kids who got to go shopping and donations and contributions were made by the Sheriff and Police Auxiliary Board, the Odd Fellows Fraternal Organization and the Jackson Police Employees Association, as well as a few private donors," said chief Smith. During the event, the kids got to spend some time picking out gifts for themselves, but Chief Smith said that many chose to find gifts for their families instead of themselves. "There was an opportunity to spend time with an officer from the many departments and get to know the person behind the badge and let the kids know that law enforcement is there to support them. In many instances the cost of the gifts exceeds the donations and the officers could be seen pulling out their wallets to make up the difference to ensure the kids got the items they needed," he added. Kmart provided discounts on all of the items, McDonalds donated food, The Hampton Inn provided a gathering location for the event, and Santa Clause stopped by to talk with the children and to hand out candy canes. *Feature Photo: h/t Jackson Police Department / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news