Cabot officers take kids to buy Christmas gifts

By Emily Van Zandt Originally Published November 29, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated November 28, 2012 at 9:47 a.m.
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— Area police officers will step into a new role this season: Santa.

They won’t be dressed in red suits, but there will be plenty of toys.

This year, officers have the opportunity to participate in Cabot Officers Playing Santa, or C.O.P.S.

Organized by Chaplain Tina Frost, the program’s toy patrol will pair local boys and girls with Cabot police officers. Each pair will then go shopping Dec. 11 at the Cabot Walmart Supercenter.

“We’re trying to have as many [officers] volunteer as we can,” said Sgt. Keith Graham, Cabot Police Department public information officer. “At last count, we have at least 20 volunteers.”

The officers, in uniform, will accompany the kids while shopping, and many of the volunteers’ spouses will be on hand for gift-wrapping duty. This is the first year the department has organized any sort of public Christmas event, and Graham hopes it shows kids another side to the officers.

“Normally, some of these kids only see police officers responding to an accident call or coming to their house for a domestic incident or something bad,” Graham said. “This helps them see that we care, that we have families and kids, too.”

Current plans are for counselors from the Cabot School District’s nine elementary schools to identify children who could most benefit from the program. A minimum of nine students, possibly more, will be selected to participate, Graham said.

Donations are being accepted, with a goal to raise $2,500 for the shopping budget. Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 123, Cabot, AR 72023, with checks made payable to “C.O.P.S. Toy Patrol.”

Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or evanzandt@arkansasonline.com.

Staff Writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at 501-399-3688 or emily@syncweekly.com.

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