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While the surge of COVID-19 cases may have stopped other activities, Chaffee County’s annual tradition of “Shop with a Cop” will continue this year. This is an opportunity for kids to spend time with local law enforcement in a casual setting that allows them to shop for gifts for their families while also giving back to the local community. This year the event will take place on December 12.

Local officers donate money into a fund that is given to students to purchase Christmas presents. On their own time, the officers take these students shopping to get presents they may not otherwise be able to afford. This event is put on by the Salida Police Department in conjunction with the Buena Vista Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.

Fourth-grade teachers pick the students to participate; typically they look for students who are in need or students who have done something outstanding during the year. In past years there have been exemplary students who made a lasting impact on their peers and thus were chosen for the event.

Image courtesy of Facebook

This year due to health restrictions, Salida Police Chief Russ Johnson personally called each parent to be sure that they felt safe with the event. Precautions have been put into place for the event and have been reviewed by the Chaffee County Public Health Department.

This year due to COVID-19, the schools will be split up so the districts aren’t intertwined. The Salida students will partake in the activity from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and the Buena Vista students will have their turn from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Due to generous donations, the money each kid receives to shop will be higher this year.

The City of Salida purchased gift cards earlier in the year from local businesses that they typically auction off at the annual employee Christmas party.  However, the City has donated these gift cards to local restaurants to be used for Shop with a Cop.

Though the program is primarily funded through law enforcement donations, Shop with a Cop is accepting other donations until December 10. To make a donation call the Salida Police Administration Line at 719-539-6880.