If you walked into the local Fred Meyer on Friday, Oct. 11 you may have been surprised by the number of police officers in the store, but not for the reason you might think. Six students from Hazelbrook Middle School were accompanied by officers to do back to school shopping. Police officers followed the students pushing around their carts looking for new clothes while carrying their large Dutch Bros drinks (compliments of Dutch Bros).
The students were picked up by the police officers and escorted to Fred Meyer for an hour of shopping for school supplies and clothes. The students gleefully scanned the racks and shoe shelves. For some, this will be the first time to have new clothes.
Tualatin Police Chief, Bill Steele, always enjoys the eventful morning as he watches the kids enjoy their brand new clothes. “Some of the kids come from tough backgrounds and tough homes,” Steele says.
Steele remembers back to their annual Christmas shopping trips. The students get to buy gifts for their family members and one for themselves. “I think of one little guy who all he wanted to do was buy his sister a bath towel because she didn’t have her own towel,” Steele says.
This annual event is funded by Tualatin Community Police Foundation (a nonprofit supporting Tualatin police), and the Tigard-Tualatin School District counselors nominate the students. These students were thoughtfully selected by the school district. Their parents were notified and signed waivers allowing their students to participate.
This nationally recognized event, ‘Shop with a Cop,’ is meant to support and encourage youth who could benefit from additional help and would enjoy shopping with police officers. ‘Shop with a Cop’ also creates positive relationships between the community and the police force. Tualatin’s Fred Meyer also contributed by offering $10 to each student and 10 percent off the total of all the items.
Jennifer Massey, the Program Coordinator at Tualatin Police Department, explains, “It’s a great event!”
Chief Steele agrees, “It’s a good opportunity to give the officers time to interact with the kids.”
An onlooking shopper stopped to share her support. She applauded the efforts of the school district and police to care for the kids in this way. Likewise, a Fred Meyer attendant, Alison, was happy to help the students find what they were looking for in the store. “I’ve worked here for over 31 years. It’s nice. I’ve been here [for ‘Shop with a Cop’] for several years. You hear stories that touch your heart. I think this is a great program,” she says.
The morning ended as the students carted out their large shopping bags with broad smiles spreading from ear to ear.
For more information on the ‘Shop with a Cop’ event and ways to donate, email Tualatin Community Police Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.