The Fraternal Order of Police and Police Departments sponsor a variety of programs for children, however, at Christmas time a program titled “Cops and Kids” is designed to build relationships between the local FOP Lodge and the community. The program is in its twenty-eight year. The event brings together families and law enforcement officers from every end of the country for one evening to benefit low-income children.
I am a retired police commander from Elk Grove Village Police Department and a proud member of FOP Lodge #35. Lodge #35 pairs off Cops and needy children together at a local community store to shop for Christmas gifts and school supplies. Taking underprivileged kids shopping shows these children the police are their friends and are always there to help. The program builds relationships between the police and children which can make a lasting impression. The goal behind the program is to give children the opportunity to shop with a police officer.
Many of the children come from difficult situations and too often have only experienced police contact due to an unpleasant circumstance. This program is working to change that!
It is not uncommon to hear officers claim it is an awesome experience for them as well. Kids tend to be a bit nervous at first and not really sure what to think, but being able to shop with the police and talk to them kids find out cops are just like their mom or dads.
If you are interested in learning more or contributing to this program, I recommend you contact your local police department.