GREENSBURG (KDKA) — Children who are victims of crime often have a fear of police officers, but a Westmoreland County program aims to change that perception.
It’s called “Shop with a Cop.” State troopers and local police officers accompany kids who were victims of crime through a Walmart department store.
They are given $100 to spend just before Christmas.
The program was started two years ago by State Trooper Steve Limani, of Greensburg, with the help of local Walmart store manager John Kramer.
“Shop with a Cop” quickly became a Westmoreland County tradition.
“We take kids that we run across every day, the kids that are victims of crime, [kids] that have unfortunate circumstances happen to them,” Limani explained, “and we get the chance to take those kids shopping, pal around with them for a few hours and show them that we’re human beings. We’re not just police officers. Our job is to help people.”
Trooper Limani hopes the annual golf fundraiser at Champion Lakes golf club will top last year’s take of nearly $15,000.
Local businesses have also contributed and he’s recruited reinforcements: local police. Last year 22 area police departments provided 132 kids to come here and “Shop with a Cop.”
Store manager Kramer says Walmart also provides each kid with a free winter coat.
“To see them come in here and they’re able to shop for themselves, they’re able to shop for their families, it really puts a good feeling in your heart and actually a lot of customers when they see that they want to give even more,” Kramer said.
Trooper Limani has the final word.
“It’s by far the best thing I’ve been able to do in my 13 years as a state trooper – the best.”