Alaska State Trooper Chris Umbs and Victoria Larson talk to Ethan and Wilbur during the annual Shop with a Cop Event at Fred Meyer on Dec. 18, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Alaska State Trooper Chris Umbs and Victoria Larson talk to Ethan and Wilbur during the annual Shop with a Cop Event at Fred Meyer on Dec. 18, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Shopping aisle be home for Christmas

Shop with a Cop returns as in-person event.

An event with at least a decade of history in Juneau returned to being fully in-person as the Juneau Police Department held its annual “Shop with a Cop.”

Funded by the Alaska Peace Officers Association, 37 children from 20 local families were paired up with a variety of uniformed law enforcement officers to shop for their families on Saturday morning.

“We’ve done this for at least 10 years. We picked up the idea from a department down south” said Bruce Bowler, member of the APOA, who dressed up as Santa Claus for the event. “It gives kids the chance to meet law enforcement in a positive environment.”

[Holiday helpers share top picks]

Last year marked a departure from the format as officers shopped without the kids as a mitigation measure. Many welcomed the return to bringing the children shopping with them.

“It’s my first year participating,” said Patrol Sergeant Chris Russell of the Alaska State Troopers before the event. “I can’t wait.”

Alaska State Trooper Patrol Sergeant Chris Russell, Weldon and Keane look on as Fred Meyer employee Judy Magalotti checks them out during the annual Shop with a Cop event on Dec. 18, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Alaska State Trooper Patrol Sergeant Chris Russell, Weldon and Keane look on as Fred Meyer employee Judy Magalotti checks them out during the annual Shop with a Cop event on Dec. 18, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Personnel from JPD, troopers, the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Forest Service and Alaska Department of Corrections volunteered to pair up with one or more children to shop for children’s families, riding in their patrol vehicles to Fred Meyer to shop. While they did that, said JPD’s public safety manager Erann Kalwara, officers talked to the kids, to find out what the children themselves wanted for the holiday. Children were nominated from families in the community.

“Part of thing is to make sure these kids have things to share with their families,” Kalwara said. “But the other part is to go shopping with the kids, to establish that positive relationship.”

Once the gifts were bought, the children also received a bag of food donated by Fred Meyer and spiral hams bought by APOA to bring home to their families. Law enforcement personnel and assistants, including volunteers from the Juneau Citizen’s Patrol, the TSA and the Alaska Department of Law wrapped the gifts for delivery.

Vehicles convoy to Fred Meyer as Juneau law enforcement officials drive children to go shopping during the annual Shop with a Cop event on Dec. 18, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Vehicles convoy to Fred Meyer as Juneau law enforcement officials drive children to go shopping during the annual Shop with a Cop event on Dec. 18, 2021. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

“The food went home with the kids on Saturday. Some of the gifts were delivered that day. Some were delivered yesterday. There’s a handful that will get delivered today,” Kalwara said. “It went great. I think we had more help in this station this year than I ever remember. We had a ton of people that came back and helped with the wrapping.”

Fred Meyer donated the food, designated specific checkout lanes for the event and offered a 20% discount on all purchases made for the event.

“Last year was tough on the entire community. This year Fred Meyer has really come out for the program” said APOA treasurer Eric Gazdig in an interview. “Fred Meyer is donating the dry goods and we’re buying the protein.”

The entire program was funded by donations to the APOA, Kalwara said.

“It’s so helpful that we had other organizations help us,” Kalwara said. “People contributed supplies, wrapping paper and money.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 8

Here’s what to expect this week.

Two banks with drive-through lanes are seen on Postal Way on Thursday morning. A man was fatally struck by a truck in a drive-through lane in the area during the early morning hours of June 1. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Man dies after being struck by truck while laying in drive-through lane near Mendenhall post office

Armando Sanchez, 38, struck during early morning hours of June 1; JPD notified of death Tuesday.

Curtis Davis sharpens a spike at his makeshift campsite near Juneau International Airport on Sunday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
With no official place to camp, homeless and neighborhoods alike are suffering miseries

Complaints to JPD nearly double, social agencies seek “safety zone,” many campers just want peace.

Alaska Supreme Court Justice Peter Maassen receives applause from his fellow justices and members of the Alaska Legislature during the annual State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023, at the Alaska State Capitol. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Dunleavy will be asked to pick fourth state Supreme Court justice

Applications being accepted to replace Peter Maassen, who reaches mandatory retirement age next year

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, June 10, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska ranked choice repeal measure wins first round of legal challenge, but trial awaits

Correction: The initial version of this article incorrectly listed Alaskans for Better… Continue reading

Juneau resident Ajah Rose Bishop, 21, suffered severe spinal injuries in a single-vehicle accident early Saturday morning. (GoFundMe fundraiser photo)
Woman breaks spine in single-vehicle collision on Egan Drive early Saturday morning

21-year-old Juneau resident medivaced to Anchorage, online fundraising effort underway.

Shannan Greene (left) and Sharyn Augustine hold signs on April 27 urging residents to sign recall petitions for Juneau Board of Education President Deedie Sorensen and Vice President Emil Mackey due to their roles in a budget crisis for the current fiscal year. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
School board recall petitions submitted; supporters of Saturday cruise ship ban need more signatures

Third initiative seeking to repeal default by-mail elections also has 10 days to get more signers.

Most Read