Casper Kids and Cops Shop for Toys and Treats
On Saturday, 30 to 40 officers from various law enforcement agencies in Natrona County went to the west side Walmart to help kids buy various items at its 15th annual Shop with a Cop event.
According to a press release, around $23,500 was donated from Walmart East and West, Sam’s club, and Jennie Gordon’s, the First Lady of Wyoming, Wyoming Hunger Initiative donated $10,500 toward this year’s event.
Donations were also made from private donors, including Pathfinder Ranches, Wyoming Bail Bonds, Thank a First Responder of Natrona County, and Jay and Nancy Stewart assisted by providing additional funds for this year’s event.
This year over 600 children applied to participate but because of the funds, only 360 children participated in the event where kids were given $60 to spend.
Kiera Grogan, public information officer with the Natrona County Sheriff's Office, said they tried choosing kids that haven't participated before.
"The way that we did it this year was if you have participated from previous years, we tried to choose kiddos who've never been a part of it, and then after that, it was just based on their needs, their incomes, and what they're really needing this year," Grogan said. "There was a lot of information that the families put on the applications that were really taken into account. They love it, and the parents love it too."
Jeffrey Bullard, a lieutenant with the Casper Police Department, said the event has helped him to better connect with someone he's dealt with before.
"Last year I had the opportunity to go shopping with a kiddo who was a victim of a very serious crime and her dad and I have mixed it up a couple times in my career," Bullard said. "And, we got to shopping and I brought her out, and I didn't realize she was his kid. And I came out and we started looking for her dad, and she runs over, 'Dadddy!' and he's like 'oh, it's officer Bullard, hey buddy how's it going?' So then we sat and talked for a good 10 minutes afterward and I think that interaction with him was much different to see me in a different light, for me to see him in a different light and then for her kid to see a positive interaction...I can definitely say anecdotally there's a good positive change. In the meantime since that interaction, he's actually sought me out for advice on some ongoing stuff with his daughter that's been occurring since then. Definitely a positive change."
There is also another Shop with a Cop event planned for Sunday at the East Walmart.