By Lt. Everardo Silva, AA/Public Information Officer
Calipatria State Prison
Staff from Calipatria and Centinela state prisons staff joined other law enforcement personnel to escort disadvantaged kids to the store during the 14th annual Shop with a Cop Event.
The event paired 100 Imperial Valley children with an officer from different law enforcement agencies throughout the Valley. The officers accompanied the excited shoppers to Target.
After having lunch on Saturday, Dec. 12, the children participated in a procession of law enforcement vehicles which went from a local high school in El Centro, to the store where the toy aisles quickly filled with young shoppers and accompanying law enforcement staff.
Calipatria Correctional Officer Javier Rojas has participated with the event for the last six years.
“It was a pleasure to spend time with the young children I had,” said Officer Rojas.
The purpose of the event is to foster positive relationships between youth and law enforcement officers. CDCR staff along with other law enforcement agencies and kids went on a mini shopping spree.
Young kids, ages 6 to 12, who have either been through a tragic experience or are in need, are selected each year during the end-of-the-year holiday season to shop at the local area Target store to purchase a gift for themselves or gifts for members of their immediate family.
Each child is given a small amount of money to spend, normally $100. Approximately one to two children are assigned to each law enforcement personnel, who then escort them around the store and assist them in selecting gifts, said Rojas.
“This year, Shop With A Cop was extremely fortunate to have raised enough funds to touch the lives of approximately 100 children in our community,” said Community Resource Manager Claudia Saldana. “This experience will have long lasting effects on the children who were able to spend quality time with these kind-hearted law enforcement agents who enjoyed themselves as much as the children did on this one special day.”