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To protect and serve … & spread holiday cheer

December 12, 2012

This deputy and his tiny Christmas shopper enjoy a moment of play during the 2011 Shop with a Cop event. Angry Bird may be a heavy contender again this year. Photo by Mike Gervais

With their squad car lights flashing and sirens wailing, Eastern Sierra law enforcement officers will be rounding up scores of minors this weekend – but these kids aren’t delinquents. Rather, the raucous round-up will mark the return of a special day of holiday fun for the officers and more than 20 lucky youngsters.
Door-to-door service, a hot breakfast, a shopping spree and a snap shot on Santa’s knee are all part of the Second Annual Shop with a Cop event being held this Saturday, Dec. 15 in Bishop.
In their marked patrol cars, police officers and sheriff’s deputies from Bishop, Mammoth Lakes and Inyo and Mono counties will pick up the children at their front doors and off they’ll go to make a 9 a.m. breakfast reservation at Whiskey Creek, located at 524 N. Main St.
“After breakfast, all the cops and their kids line up and roll ‘code 3’ with lights and sirens,” said event founder and Mammoth Lakes Police Officer Rick Moberly. The children’s holiday ride-a-long will proceed to Kmart, located at 1200 N. Main St., where the youngsters get to play Santa.
Armed with their personal list of friends and family for whom they wish to buy presents, each youngster is treated to a $200 shopping spree – courtesy of the coffers of the Mammoth Lakes and Bishop Police Officers Associations and the Inyo and Mono County Deputy Sheriff’s Officers’ Associations. In other words, the law enforcement officers themselves are footing the bill Saturday.
According to Bishop Police Dispatcher Clancy Batchelder, who also serves as the Police Officers Association secretary and treasurer, last year, participating officers and deputies even reached into their own pockets to help the kids get gifts for everyone on their lists. Last year, parents and siblings were at the top of most of those lists.
Volunteers will rendezvous at Kmart at 10 a.m., ready to adorn each gift with paper, ribbon and bows. Once the pretty parcels are loaded into Santa’s black-and-whites, the officers will escort the gift-laden children home.
Moberly said he started Shop with a Cop in 2011 “to help local families in need for the holiday season … This is a very rewarding program for both the officers and the families in need.
“The children are chosen by local service groups or schools … Santa Claus will also be (at Kmart) for photographs with the officer and child,” added Moberly. “So far we have 22 children from both Inyo and Mono counties.”
This year, said Moberly, the participating law enforcement agencies are: Mammoth Lakes and Bishop Police Departments; Bishop Tribal Police; Inyo County Probation Department; California State Fish and Game Department; and the Inyo and Mono Sheriff’s departments.
The group still needs volunteers to wrap gifts at Kmart, starting at around 10 a.m., according to its Facebook page:
To make donations, the public can contact Batchelder at the Bishop Police Department, located at 207 W. Line St.
For more information about Shop with a Cop, visit the above-listed Facebook page.

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