No ‘blue’ Christmas

Shop With a Cop brings green to make Christmas merry

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Law enforcement officers from throughout Blount County responded to Wal-Mart in the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 16. Youngsters were walking the aisles, taking merchandise off the shelves and walking out without paying.

And the officers and deputies were helping them. It was the annual Shop With a Cop event sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Personnel from Alcoa, Maryville police departments and Blount County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the McGhee Tyson Airport police, Emergency 911 Communications center personnel and area firefighters each paired with a youngster. The uniformed officers walked the aisles, pushed buggies and talked with the children while they picked out items for themselves and for family members.

After they finished their shopping sprees, each child watched as the volunteers wrapped their presents at the front of the store.

The youngsters each had $125 to spend, and the officers helped them keep track of how much they had left after they put items in their buggies. There were 123 children participating in the event. The F.O.P. collected funds throughout the year and how much they raised determined how many youngsters they were able to help. Beside giving deserving children a good Christmas, officials said the event, which started in Blount County in 1989, also helps forge friendships between the officers and the children.

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