Reagan Thompson hopped out of a police SUV outside the Walmart on Riggs Road in Northeast D.C. to a greeting from Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and dozens of D.C. police.
She was the sole kid this year who got to do this year’s Shop with a Cop in person.
“Yes! He’s the best,” said Reagan about meeting Santa Claus, but that wasn’t the only person she wanted to meet.
“I’m meeting Chief Contee!” she said. And shopping with him, too.
D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee strolled into the Walmart to meet the giddy 6-year-old, and off they went to go shopping through the aisles, picking up new outfits, a few dolls and other toys.
“Reagan was absolutely adorable. It was great to meet her and go around and just spend some time with her shopping,” Contee said. “Just the holiday spirit that she brought to this. She was excited to see me, and I was equally excited to see her.”
While no other child was able to shop in person this year, some 100 police officers shopped for 100 kids.
“A lot of these kids are kids that [the officers] have established relationships over the past year with and their families. So, this is really their opportunity to say, ‘We care,’” said Rebecca Schwartz, director of development and operations for the Washington D.C. Police Foundation.
Every toy, clothing and electronics aisle was overflowing with officers picking out gifts for their selected child. Each officer was given $100 to spend.
“But you’ll often see officers will will add some extra, and and they’ll pay out of pocket just to give more for that family,” Schwartz said.
Officers from every D.C. district were present for the day, including Third District Commander Han Kim, who was picking out clothes for a young girl.
“We want to start having a good relationship, especially when the kids are young. And that the police officers are not always out here to arrest people or here when bad things happen, but the officers are here to help the community,” Kim said.
Later this month, officers will visit the families at their home to drop off presents and spend some time with the kids — and to “just see the smiles on their face and enjoy the holidays,” Kim said.