By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Several local children spent Saturday morning on a holiday spending spree made possible through Gainesville Optimist Club and the efforts of local law enforcement.
The annual “Shop With a Cop” provided each of the 10 participating kids with $100, later spent on toys for themselves and gifts for relatives.
“They might want to buy something for their brothers or sisters or mom,” said organizer Stefanie Wallace. “But we make sure that they have their gift first, since it is about them.”
Cooke County officers escorted the youth on their holiday shopping trip to Walmart and brought them back to the rendezvous point of 114 N. Dixon St. in Gainesville with sirens blaring for effect. County Constable Richard Roth credited members of the local Optimist Club in raising the $1,000 in spending money and providing Saturday’s early-morning breakfast at the First State Bank Conference Center.
“The program has been active in Gainesville as long as I’ve been here, which is eight years,” he said Saturday. “And I did it for many, many years when I was in Dallas. And they say the program is for the kids, but it’s not. It’s for the cops. It’s the most fun thing that we do.”
Roth said children are often left in a position to see law enforcement officers in a negative or intimidating light. Activities such as “Shop With a Cop” seem to go a long way in helping reverse that.