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Shop with a Cop helps children during holidays
3 Shop with a Cop pic
Jordan Martin, 12, looks for a Christmas present for her niece during the recent annual Shop with a Cop event at Walmart. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

The Dawson County Sheriff's Office recently held its annual Shop with a Cop.

The effort aims to build relationships with local children and helps deputies develop a good rapport with youth who may otherwise not have a Christmas.

Shop with a Cop initially began after the office saw the need for some added help in the county, according to Sheriff Billy Carlisle.

"There were already several great organizations in place to help kids in need, like K.A.R.E for Kids," Carlisle said. "Sometimes the need overwhelms everyone, so we decided to help too."

Five years into the program, it's still going strong, said Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten.

"This year we have 37 children," he said of the Dec. 20 event. "Each child has $100 to spend on whatever they want."

The annual Shop with a Cop event is funded with a combination of donations from stores and residents.

"This year, Walmart gave the sheriff's office a $2,000 grant," Wooten said. "We also received $1,000 from the Chestatee Golf Club Men's Golf Association. They've both been a big help."

Students are selected by counselors in the local school system and nominated for the program.

"One of our kids here had never been in this Walmart before," said Stan Harrison, school resource officer. "To see him excited and running around really puts things into perspective."

After shopping, the sheriff's office treated the children and parents to a pizza dinner.