Eau Claire (WQOW) - Local law enforcement spent their Sunday giving back to kids in need. The 21st annual "Shop with a Cop" was held at target in Eau Claire Sunday.
"Somewhere down the line, hopefully they'll be able to look at us and say "Hey, I know that officer, he was really nice to me," said Sgt. Mike Mayer of the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Department.
There were some unique shoppers lining the aisles Sunday, as local law enforcement helped area kids in need as part of the annual "Shop with a Cop" program.
"Everything right now is the needs of the children, as far as clothing. So snow pants, boots, along with pants and shirts, and everything for schooling to keep them warm for the winter," said Mayer.
The money for shopping comes from donations here in the Chippewa Valley. After a child's needs are met, its time for some toys.
Each child gets about one hundred and fifty dollars to spend as they shop. They also get to spend some quality time with law enforcement.
"I liked seeing his badge a lot. They're awesome, they're cool, and they're super fantastic," said Sam Plant, one of the shoppers in the program.
For officers, the shopping experience is a way to teach children not to be afraid of the men and women behind the badges.
"It's really beneficial in the long run. The children start to have a better feeling toward law enforcement; they can see us in a better light. You'll see the officers actually getting right down there on their knees helping them out. "I think it's a really positive image we're setting for those children," Mayer said.
After checkout, its time for a bite to eat with Santa and their shopping buddies.
This year, the kids were helped out by members of the Eau Claire County Sheriffs Department, the state patrol, and local police departments. There were also a few CVTC and Globe University students taking part.