13th annual “Shop with a Cop” brings smiles to hundreds of kids

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The sound of police sirens filled the air Saturday morning as hundreds of cop cars rolled into the Walmart parking lot in Lansing.

But the officers weren’t alone; in fact, each of them had a child paired with them, ready to spend $100 on whatever they want for Christmas.

One of those kids is 6 year-old Braylen Mitchell.

“I got wonder woman…Spiderman…” Braylen excitedly said while showing off his toys in his cart.

“As you can tell, my little guy is very excited,” Michigan State Police Trooper Marco Jones stated.

Trooper Jones has participated in this event for the last seven years and says seeing the joy on Braylen’s face…is priceless.

But “Shop with a Cop” has an even bigger goal and that’s bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community.

“We’re here to kind of show them that this is a day where you’re having a very positive interaction and we hope this will carry on for the rest of their lives,” said Tpr. Jones.

Lansing Police Sergeant Jason Spoelma agrees.

“So we got basketball games, video games, air pump…” said Sgt. Spoelma to his sidekick.

“It’s my chance to give back and show a child that police officers are fun to be around,” Sgt. Spoelma stated.

From lunch, to pictures with Santa, it’s an experience these kids will never forget.

“I got a basketball!” said 12 year-old A’quavius Beard.

And the same can be said for the dozens of officers who created new friendships along the way.

“It just warms your heart and it reinforces why we all get into law enforcement in the first place,” Heidi Williams stated; Chair of the Ingham County “Shop with a Cop.”

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