PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va.— It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas for 50 local children, who where treated to a holiday shopping spree by police on Saturday.
The kids spent the morning on a $175 shopping spree with the men and women in blue from Prince William County.
Even Santa Claus — who moonlights as a jail house officer at the county’s Adult Detention Center — was on hand to usher in cheer at the Wal-Mart near Potomac Mills Mall. Santa made his arrival by helicopter. Then Mrs. Claus drove him to the front door in a Virginia State Police vehicle.
Mark Harman, with the Fraternal Order of Police (Battlefield Lodge #43 FOP), said the officers were all volunteers. They represented the county police, county Adult Detention Center, Sheriff’s Office and George Mason University.
Harman said the children were chosen by the county school board and were between 5 and 10 years old. He said they generally pick out more “needs” than “wants.”
“You’ll actually see them picking out something for their parents or a sibling, and it’s really touching,” says Harman.
Angel, 10, crinkled his nose when he was asked what he wanted during the shopping spree and then said “something for my dad because he never gets gifts on Christmas.”
Correll, 7, said he had things for his family on his shopping list but said there also were a few things for himself — like Nerf guns, basketballs and softballs.
“This is awesome, ” the boy said. “I’ve never been with police before.”
He was paired up with Sgt. Corey Gray, who was participating in the event for the first time.
“I think that’s the best part of being with them,” he said. “They probably think that we’re doing something for them but really they’re doing something for us.”
The officers definitely outnumbered the children on Saturday. Harman said it’s his favorite event of the year. He could not hide his smiles.
The kids get to see the police in a different light and the officers get to mingle with the children. “Something that’s lighthearted, instead of what they (police officers) are normally doing, which again, nobody calls the cops because they’re having a good day,” Harman said.
After working up an appetite from shopping, the kids were taken to breakfast in a police convoy with lights flashing and sirens blaring.