PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This is no ordinary Christmas shopping trip.
State troopers and local police teamed up with children whose mother was hospitalized after a shooting in Derry.
Each kid received $150 to spend at the Walmart in Latrobe. They call it “Shop with a Cop.”
“It gives police officers an opportunity to take children who were victims of a crime or some other unfortunate circumstance shopping before Christmas. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever been able to do as a police officer in my 15 year career,” said Trooper Steve Limani, of the Pennsylvania State Police. “Something I get told by police officers constantly how great it is to have the feeling to be able to help somebody maybe not able to help themselves.”
The local community has raised $132,000 for this program in the past five years.
“This is a small town here in Westmoreland County. And all the stores, and Walmart, and Steve Limani get together and do a golf outing every year, in which we raise a lot of money,” said Marcy Park, a market manager. “You’ll see customers come through and hand Steve money and gift cards. It’s just remarkable.”
The children’s grandmother says this has brightened their holiday season.
“They just had a great time,” said grandmother Sandy George. “And it’s really nice of the police to do this for them.”
It’s a chance to see law enforcement in a different light.
“These children will run across us during a time of tragedy in their lives, whether it be a fatal car crash, maybe a domestic where we’re in their house arresting somebody,” said Trooper Limani. “And yet we have a chance for them not to see us that way, doing our ordinary job, but to see us as normal people. We just want to help.”