Home Local News Rockingham Police Department’s “Shop with a Cop” Event is an Afternoon of...

Rockingham Police Department’s “Shop with a Cop” Event is an Afternoon of Christmas Spirit

Rockingham Police Chief W.D. Kelly stands with Officer Jan Owens, the originator of RPD’s “Shop With a Cop” initiative.
Photo courtesy of C.K. Craven.

ROCKINGHAM – For those thinking they’ve been good this year and are waiting to see if Santa noticed, it appears as though the Rockingham Police Department has already gotten the memo.

And for 10 lucky local elementary school children, the RPD is aiming to start the Christmas season early.

Originating from an idea proposed by Officer Jan Owens in 2015, Chief W.D. Kelly authorized his police officers to effectively “adopt” an elementary school student for a few hours of Christmas shopping and related holiday-period activities.

“This is our third year of ‘Shop with a Cop,’ and it has proven to be a very positive program,” Chief Kelly stated.  “We get a lot of support in the form of grants and donations from Walmart, the Rotary Club, and Cascades. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to do it.”

The two Rockingham elementary schools select ten of their students to participate in the event, normally held on the last day of school prior to the holiday break.

This year that date is set for Wednesday, December 20, when at 1:30 p.m., the “chosen ones” will converge on RPD headquarters. Each child will be paired one-on-one with an officer for the afternoon.  After a trip to Twisted Treats for some Christmas goodies and a “get-to-know-one-another-better” chat, a shopping spree at Walmart is next on the agenda.


But the kids don’t know the whole story at first.  They are told that they will be shopping for their family members (which they do). It is only afterward that they learn that they themselves can get something as well. 

“This way they are reminded of that very important part of Christmas that is often overlooked: the joy of giving,” said Chief Kelly.

“We did this at one of my previous agencies,” commented Owens. “And we just thought that it would work well in an active community like Rockingham.”

And work well, it has. 

“I’m not sure who gets more out of it, the kids or the officers,” Owens added.  “We all enjoy it, and they (the children) remember it – they will come up to us all through the following year and tell us how good they have been!”

So, if shoppers happen to be at Walmart on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 20, they shouldn’t be alarmed by the number of uniformed officers with children in tow. It will be a group of Rockingham police officers helping children to experience the true meaning of the Christmas spirit, and perhaps learn a little about life in general along the way.

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