This sure seems like a wonderful program to me. It gets needy children (economically disadvantaged kids that tend to have a higher risk of committing crime later in life) together with police officers in a great setting to facilitate not just a happier holiday season for both the kids and the officers, but to potentially setting the stage for a healthier, less adversarial interaction between the kids and the cops later in life.
Over forty Pocatello Police Officers and Bannock County Sheriff's Deputies took the kids shopping for gifts to give to their family members - something the young people would not otherwise have been able to afford. The officers were giving of their time, the kids were buying gifts to give to others. And the giving didn't stop there. The money to buy the gifts was donated by the local community, and the cheerleaders from Highland, Century and Pocatello High School were giving their time and effort to helping with the shopping, and with gift wrapping.
This program works in so many ways - building positive relationships between kids and police officers, providing gifts where otherwise there may not be gifts - or the joy that comes from giving gifts to loved ones, the chance for community members to give to needy families, the cheer squads to perform a community service and the law enforcement professionals the opportunity to not only help needy families and exert a positive influence on the kids, but probably to help prevent some crime that may have resulted in the future from at-risk kids who had not had positive interaction with police officers. A win-win-win-win-win-win deal.
I admire our law enforcement professionals so much, for the work they do day in and day out, and when they give of their personal time to serve their community even further, my admiration only grows. (For another excellent example of a police service program doing amazing things, check out http://sunshinedivision.org/)
Oh, and the cops let the kids run the lights and sirens, and even use the radios. Perfect. Thank you to the Poky police and Bannock County deputies. I may not live in Poky any more (though I was born there and enjoy visits every year), your efforts have even provided me with a benefit 600 miles away: you've encouraged me, and reminded me that there are some wonderful people in this world, and more than an average percent of these are our law enforcement officers. Thank you PPD and BCS, and the great community you serve.