LONG BEACH — On the first Saturday in December, a select group of local elementary students got the opportunity to shop for themselves and their families while spending “quality time” with local police officers.

The annual event is a collaboration between the Peninsula Rotary Club, local law enforcement agencies, and several local businesses. The purpose of the event is to foster positive relationships between youth and officers, according to a press release from the Rotary Club.

In hte press release, Co-Chairs Jamie Meling and Jackie Ferrier said 16 officers from Long Beach Police Department, Pacific County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Willapa National Wildlife Refuge), Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Washington State Parks and Washington State Patrol donated their time. Over the last three years, South Pacific County’s Shop with a Cop program has nearly doubled the number of recipients — this year, 17 students participated.

The Lost Roo provided breakfast and a venue for kids and cops to get to know one another, while members of the USCG Station Cape Disappointment Auxiliary provided an opportunity to pose for photos with Santa, Mrs. Claus and their cop buddy.

After breakfast, the kids got an exciting ride in an official vehicle, complete with sirens and lights, as they head to Dennis Company to shop. Each child received a $100 gift card, provided by Dennis Company and the Peninsula Rotary Club. Officers help the students select gifts and write gift-cards, and volunteers helped to wrap their purchases with materials provided by Dennis Company.

Santa had one last surprise for each of the kids — holiday stockings, thanks to Bank of the Pacific, and gifts for each of their siblings from Rotary.

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