TOP PHOTO: Campbell County Deputy J.J. Hatmaker, Jacksboro Police Chief Jeremy Goins and Tina Goodman were all smiles behind their masks as they helped with the local Shop with a Cop event.
By Charlotte Underwood
JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The annual Shop with a Cop night helped bring holiday cheer to 325 Campbell County children last week.
Law enforcement officials from throughout the county came together at Walmart Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights to help area kids select the perfect Christmas gifts. In the past, Shop with a Cop has sponsored 300 youngsters, but was able to expand by an extra 25 kids this year, according to event organizer Jacksboro Police Chief Jeremy Goins.
“Despite the pandemic and it being hard times for everyone, people really dug deep this year and gave extra so we were able to expand the program,” Goins said. This is his first year organizing the Shop with a Cop.
Due to the pandemic, the event was set up a little different than in years past. Usually the kids are treated to pizza and a visit from Santa in the back of the store before going shopping. Due to the concern of gathering in large numbers, instead of pizza, this year each child was given a gift card for a happy meal from McDonald’s. “We wanted to still be able to feed everyone; hopefully by next year, things will be able to go back to normal,” Goins said.
Each year, elementary aged children are chosen by school staff from all of the county’s elementary schools to take part in the shopping.
The kids get paired up with an officer and get to spend $75 tax free at the store. The program is a non-profit and is entirely driven by donations. Area officers were excited to shop with the kids.
“I think some of the officers enjoy it as much as the kids do,” Goins said.
Campbell County’s local Shop with a Cop Shop was started 22 years ago by retired Jacksboro Police Chief Danny Chapman and late Jacksboro Detective Mike Starrett. Goins and other law enforcement involved with the event said it’s something “special to the community” and something they plan to continue each holiday season.
“This is something we all look forward to each year, and we plan to continue the tradition. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community and for that we are so grateful,” Goins said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/14/2020-6AM)