By Lt. Elias Garcia, AA/PIO
California Correctional Institution

On Dec. 13, California Correctional Institution (CCI) officers participated in the Shop with a Cop program. Twenty children were paired up with Officers from CCI, Tehachapi Police Department, Union Pacific Police Department, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and the CHP.

Children were treated to a pizza dinner at the Tehachapi Police Department.  Afterwards the children were given a police escort in police cars with lights and sirens all the way to KMART. There the children were given $100 to spend on what ever they wanted. Officers escorted them helping them pick items they wanted. Officers even dug into their own pockets if the children exceeded the $100. This co-op event shows just how much our officers care and support their communities.

Southern region CDCR staff take kids shopping

By DAPO staff

Southern Region San Diego District Parole Administrators, Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJD) administrators, Division of Rehabilitative Program managers, parole agents and supervisors as well as RJD Investigations Services Unit staff escorted underprivileged kids to the store during the 2018 annual Shop with a Cop event in San Diego.

The event paired 330 San Diego children with an officer from different law enforcement agencies throughout the county. The officers accompanied the excited shoppers to Target.

After having Breakfast at Sea World Aquatic Park, the children participated in a procession of law enforcement vehicles which went from Sea World in San Diego to the Target store where the toy aisles quickly filled with young shoppers and accompanying law enforcement staff. Southern Region DAPO Chief Deputy Jon Stern has participated with the event for the last three years.

“It was an honor to be spending my morning with 8 young children escorted by CDCR staff, introducing the young people to a kinder more gentle side of law enforcement can make a lasting profound effect, marking a defined sense of positive interaction and contact in the future, ” said RJD Warden Patrick Covello.

The purpose of the event is to foster positive relationships between youth and law enforcement officers. Kids ages 6 to 11, who have either been through a tragic experience or are underprivileged, 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 was given $150 dollars to spend. Approximately one child is assigned to one or in some cases two law enforcement personnel, who then escort them around the store and assisted them in selecting gifts, said Jon. Stern PsyD, Chief Deputy Administrator, Southern Parole Region.

“So often in today’s world our inner city youth are only exposed to law enforcement officers under less than desirable circumstance, having the opportunity to interact in such a meaningful, potentially life changing event is nothing short of a cherished honor,” said Joe Stewart Chief Deputy Warden.

“I was profoundly moved by the children’s enthusiasm and the selfless gift purchases they were elated to make for their siblings, many of our staff give back in so many ways and having the opportunity to spend the day with these amazing children is truly special, I believe they give more to us than we do to them,” said San Diego Region Parole Administrator Steve Lamirand.

Parole Agent I A. Aviles, who was on the Shop with a Cop organizing committee this year, said the effects of the program are multifaceted. Shop with a Cop hopes to break down the barriers between the community and the police with the intent of developing a better and more trusting relationship

Participating staff included Patrick Covello, Joe Stewart, Jon Stern, Steve Lamirand, Mike Hagemann, Jackie Rivera, Rick Carlos, Alex Bustos, Memo Lopez, Franbisco Rivera, Anabel Anderson, Augé Aviles, Jason Ball, Michael Lum, Terry Shehee, Berni Martinez, David Villalva and Javier Delavega.

Woodland Parole Unit hosts Shopping with an Agent

By DAPO staff

On Dec. 12, agents of the Woodland Parole Unit conducted the first ever Shopping with an Agent event in Woodland.

Parole Agents Troy Libonati, Jeffrey Jenkins, Anita Nuno, Clint Lugar, Ron Dunne, Michael Delgado and Parole Agent III David Hollar were present. The event was held at the Target Store in Woodland. Eleven children arrived for the event with their parents and were presented with “Parole Agent” badge stickers for the event.

Santa Claus was also present to say hi and help assist the Agents. The children were surprised to hear that they were selected to participate in a shopping spree with Parole Agents for whatever they wanted. Each child was given $125 in gift cards and off they went. Parole Agents from the Woodland Parole Unit assisted the Children is making their selections.

Some children opted for Legos or remote control cars while other children simply wanted new shoes. The children were overwhelmed with happiness as they browsed the store aisles. A number of shoppers asked who we were and what are purpose was. The feedback was positive. One shopper, stated, “That’s great what you guys are doing. The kids always get overlooked. Good for you guys”.

Parole Agents also helped the Children purchase their selections at checkout stands and it was announced that Parole had one more surprise for them. The children walked around a partition to discovery 11 new bicycles waiting for them. Each child looked the bicycles over and make a decision on which one to take home.

The parents were overwhelmed with gratitude and thanks Agents throughout the evening. One particular parolee had been released from custody approximately three months earlier. He has been doing well and working full-time making $11 an hour. He stated he wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to get anything for his three children this year because things were so tight. He said, “Thank you so much. I didn’t know Parole Agents would do something like this”.

Overall the event was a success, giving back to those less fortunate during this holiday season while showing the community a different side of Parole. With the generosity of Agents from the Woodland Parole Unit and Target this event was possible.

Woodland Parole Unit Supervisor Parole Agent III David Hollar said, “In August of this year Parole Agent II Ron Dunne, Assistant Unit Supervisor Anita Nuno and I had a meeting in which we the possibility of designing a community event to give back to the community. After discussion it was decided to design an event to provide a shopping experience for children of parolees in need during the holiday seasons.

“Agents from the Woodland Parole Unit were tasked with the goal of identifying children that could benefit from such an event due to the financial situations of their parents. Parolees who were doing well, addressing their criminogenic needs were identified,” he said. “Often these Parolees struggle during the holiday season as they are getting back on their feet, adjusting to reintegrating back into society. In the following months Agents from the Woodland Parole Unit were able to raise approximately $1,000 in donations from family and friends. Many Agent personally gave towards the cause. The local Woodland Target Store also donated $200 towards the event. Parole Agent II Ronald Dunne was able to secure 11 children bicycles from an Anonymous donation.”