Our annual Shop with a Cop Program serves the Polk County area public school students (kindergarten through third grade). Each law enforcement officer shopping with a student was provided with $100 cash to spend with each student they were assigned. The student shoppers are chosen by their schools and referred to the Bolivar Police Department by their school counselors/principals. This ensures we are providing to those who are most in need. 

This year, due to COVID-19 and health restrictions, our law enforcement and student shopping event was a bit different. Each student was paired with a law enforcement officer at the registration desk near the front of the Walmart Supercenter. Each student and officer wore a mask and shopped together with appropriate social distancing as recommended. The students’ parents were requested to meet their participating students at a designated location outside in the Walmart parking lot due to CDC recommendations for building occupancy. 

Once they concluded their shopping spree, the officer paid for the items with $100 cash provided them through the many donations from our Bolivar and Polk County businesses and citizens. Each student was presented with a bag of candy and a snack sack of food to enjoy on their ride home. The officer then escorted the students to their waiting parents in the Walmart parking lot. This approach allowed us to provide a special Christmas for our area students of 173 kids!

Because of COVID-19, the health restrictions, and the numerous challenges and uncertainties that individuals and businesses faced, we were blessed by each of our tremendous supporters providing us the finances to continue Shop with a Cop through the past years and especially this year. 

Bolivar Police Department worked in collaboration with Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Park Rangers, Missouri Conservation, Polk County 911, Walmart, Westlake Hardware and numerous donations from individuals and businesses (through SWAC donation jars and one-time gifts). 

Our area law enforcement officers had a fun and memorable opportunity taking our youngest citizens shopping for all kinds of things on their wish list. 

The officers, reflecting on their excitement and treasured moments of serving their student with the shopping spree, described the experience as being “life changing,” “exhilarating,” “fantastic,” an “awesome experience.” They said they “don’t want to miss being able to do it again,” “love seeing the kids so happy and excited,” are “sad when the students tell me they never get to do this,” love “seeing the kids ‘in the moment’ having fun” and enjoy the kids “getting to make personal choices with few limitations … their happy time.”

It is pretty fantastic to be in the community and have a little citizen yell out, “That’s my cop,” when they recognize us. 

Thank you again for what you’ve done to make this Shop with a Cop 2020 a success. We are looking forward to making more memories for our Polk County area school students in December 2021. 

With gratitude, 

Chief of Police Mark Webb   

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