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Gallery: Susanville Police Officer’s Association Shop with a Cop

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shopwithacop400A SusanvilleStuff PhotoFeature
by Marshel and Jeremy Couso

It is simply, and without reservation, my favorite event of the year. From the moment that the children stand wide-eyed watching Santa arrive on the old Susanville fire truck until the last of the shopping is finished there is pure Christmas magic in the air. The Susanville Police Officer’s Association annual ‘Shop with a Cop’ event has grown into a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when a community comes together for a deserved and worthwhile cause.

This year 46 kids were invited to take part in the holiday fun, arriving at daybreak in the WalMart garden center where they waited for Santa’s big arrival. When he appeared, riding on top of Susanville’s antique fire engine, he was heralded by eight police cars adorned with – of course – reindeer antlers.

“This year we had a very eclectic group of children,” said event organizer Officer Terra Avilla. “Children were nominated due to their parents’ financial status, foster children, children who were previously terrified of the police, children with a terminal illnesses and children who we wanted to reward for being great, kind, kids!”

Once inside the store the children were paired up with law enforcement officers from a wide variety of agencies who took them on a shopping adventure in the WalMart toy section. Working alongside the Susanville Police Department were Lassen County Sheriff’s Deputies, officers from the California Highway Patrol, Cal-Fire, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the Susanville City Fire Department.

“I love this event and so do all of the officers!” said Avilla, “All of whom volunteered on their day off to participate.”

The number of participants nearly doubled this year and officers were kept busy shopping with the kids for more than two hours.

“I am honored to serve in a community where so many people give to those who are less fortunate,” Susanville Police Chief Tom Downing said after the event. “From the police officers and other law enforcement personnel to the community members and businesses who gave for this worthy event, I want to say thank you! Your support of our community makes it a better place for all of us.”

For Avilla and her fellow police officers Shop with a Cop has become a year-round project, one that adds a special punctuation to the end of each year.

“My day ended with a mother crying and hugging me,” said Avilla, “saying she feels so blessed to have a community who loves her children even though they have never met them, and that is why we do it.”

Lassen High ASB members after their shopping spree for goodies for the children's stockings. -photo submitted
Lassen High ASB members after their shopping spree for goodies for the children’s stockings. -photo submitted

Some of the folks who made the event possible

  • Lassen High School’s ASB students raised money to stuff personalized stockings for the children, tailoring gifts to each individual. They also helped out the morning of the event.
  • Lassen youth Fastpitch softball provided multiple volunteers who were essential in the event.
  • Dr. Vixie and Dr. Northrup’s office donated toothpaste and toothbrushes for the stockings.
  • Kopper Kettle and Courthouse Cafe cooked 150 breakfasts for the event.
  • The California Highway Patrol sponsored four additional children all by themselves.
  • Lassen’s Public Health Department took care of making the parents at home while the kids did their shopping.
  • The Lassen College Men’s Baseball team was on hand to play reindeer games with the kids.
  • Primo Deli baked more than 100 cookies for the kids to decorate.

Funding for the event came from money raised by the annual Police Officer’s Ball along with generous donations made by the community. Contributions made it possible for every single nominated child to be included in the holiday fun. That is phenomenal.

To see all of the photos in our Shop with a Cop gallery just click here and head on over to SusanvilleSnapshots.com

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To see all of the photos in our Shop with a Cop gallery just click here and head on over to SusanvilleSnapshots.com

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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