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“Shop With a Cop”: Boyceville Police Department helps bring Christmas to kids

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE —  With almost 40 children and 40 police officers all going Christmas shopping at the same time in the Menomonie Walmart for the “Shop With a Cop” event, it must have been kind of a “rush.”

“We wanted to participate because some of the kids were from Boyceville,” said Boyceville Police Chief Greg Lamkin.

Shop With a Cop took place on Saturday, December 9, and involved less-fortunate children from around Dunn County along with a number of law enforcement agencies including the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, the UW-Stout Police Department, the Menomonie Police Department, the Colfax Police Department and the Boyceville Police Department.

Participants also included personnel from the Dunn County Department of Human Services and administrative staff from the police departments and the Dunn County District Attorney’s office.

“We have a wonderful support system and could not have done it without the support of the community,” said Brenna Jasper, a crime prevention specialist with the Menomonie Police Department.

The $3,700 in gift cards for the shopping expedition were purchased with funding provided by individuals and businesses in the community, Jasper noted.

The children ranged in age from about a year to 16 years old.

The families were selected through referrals from partner organizations such as school districts in Dunn County and Dunn County Human Services. The police officers themselves also made referrals, Jasper said.

Three officers from the Boyceville Police Department participated in Shop With a Cop. In addition to Police Chief Lamkin, Officer Peter Rud and Officer Ryan Jordan also shopped with the youngsters.

Other officers who either work part-time for the Boyceville Police Department or who are connected to Boyceville in some way participated, too, Police Chief Lamkin said.

Additional Boyceville participants included Chad Mousel, a deputy with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department who works part-time for the Boyceville Police Department; Corey Mattison, who works in the Dunn County jail and also part-time for Boyceville; Deputy Matt Feeney, the ambulance director in Boyceville; Kevin Bygd, captain of field services with the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department and a Boyceville resident; Lisa Peterson, a sergeant with the UW-Stout Police Department and a member of the Boyceville firefighters; Deputy Brandon Scott, who served as the interim police chief in Boyceville before Police Chief Lamkin was hired; and Deputy Jason McDonald, who lives north of Boyceville.

“It was a good way for us to get out into the community and have a positive interaction with local children,” Police Chief Lamkin said.

“It was a way for us to be seen not in an enforcement light, but to go out and spend time and to connect,” he said.

The officers, children and their families met at the Menomonie McDonald’s at 8:45 a.m.  

McDonald’s treated them all to breakfast, and the officers ate breakfast with the child to whom they were assigned for their shopping expedition.

By 10 a.m., the officers, children and their family members went to the Menomonie Walmart.

Walmart had dedicated an area in the garden center as their gathering place.

Walmart and McDonald’s both “went above and beyond,” Jasper said.

Each officer and child received a $100 Walmart gift card with which to go shopping.

The children shopped for whatever they wanted: toys, clothes, bikes, skateboards, remote controlled cars, smaller toys.  

After the youngsters and police officers were done shopping, they went back to garden center where Walmart had checkout counters set up specifically for the event.

Walmart also had employees at gift wrapping stations if the children wanted any of the gifts wrapped.

Coffee, hot chocolate, cider, cookies and doughnuts were available, too, for the officers, children and their families.

Children also could have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus and the officers, and the group gathered for several large group photos as well.

Donors and sponsors for Shop With a Cop included Bremer Bank, Cedar Corporation, Community Foundation of Dunn County, ConAgra Foods, Culver’s Frozen Custard, Dairy State Bank, Dunn Energy Cooperative, the employees of Phillips Medisize, Fairmount Santrol, Iris Boutique, Keyes Chevytown, La Dee Dah, Larry Jess Foundation (Sunrise Rotary), Livestock Trucking, Marketplace Foods, National Mutual Benefit Branch 927, RIZE Nutrition, Walmart Foundation, WESTconsin Credit Union, Women of the Moose, as well as various individual donors.

Shop With a Cop “was something positive for this time of year … and yes, we would definitely do it again,” Police Chief Lamkin said.