The scene Friday night and Saturday morning in the toy aisle at Walmart in Mexico, was law enforcement personnel and children shopping together.

This weekend was the Shop With a Cop program. Deputy Cody Burson with the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office, coordinated the event which has not taken place in Mexico since 2011.

The children were given a $100 gift card from Walmart. With the assistance of an officer, they could spend the money on themselves, family members or both. “It’s their money to spend as they want,” Burson said.

Fifty-three kids were chosen this year.

Money for the program was raised by fundraisers. Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller assisted his wife, Suzanne, in making small flags which were sold at various fairs in the area. “We also had a dunking booth and sold raffle tickets to the Luke Bryan concert,” Burson stated. Burson also received a grant for $5,000. Altogether they raised approximately $8,000. “What we have left will roll over for next year,” Burson said.

The children along with their cop companion would go down the toy aisle picking out their favorite toy, and sometimes putting a toy back when they found one they liked better. One little boy had toys for himself, but was also looking for something for his siblings. The officer with the kids would calculate how much was being spent.

Also participating in this weekend’s Shop With a Cop program included officers from Audrain County Sheriff’s Office, Vandalia Police Office, Missouri Highway Patrol and the Conservation Department.

By Brenda Fike | Mexico Ledger