Deanne Stein, News9.com
EDMOND, Oklahoma -- Each day, police officers put their lives on the line to serve and protect the community. And while most of the situations they run into are sometimes negative and challenging, police in Edmond had a chance to let their guard down and give back.
On Sunday, the Edmond Police Department held it's annual "Shop With A Cop" event. During the event, police officers get to play Santa for the day.
"It's rewarding," said Officer Jimmy Gwartney. "You get to know the kid more one-on-one, talk to them and see what they want."
This year, the event was held at the Super Target located on 2nd Street and Bryant Avenue in Edmond. Officers were matched up with children from the Hope Center to help them shop.
"A lot of times these are the only Christmas presents they're going to get and this gives them the opportunity to get that special gift they've been wanting all year," said Gwartney.
Seventy-eight children participated at this year's event, each with around 150 dollars to spend. And while "fun" items were on their list, many of them used the money for more practical needs and to give back themselves.
"They get a couple of things for themselves, but they're also thinking for their parents, brothers and sisters," Officer Gwartney said. "They want to get presents for them as well."
Gwartney said the department raised $13,000 this year, a record, all thanks to the generous donations from the community. Target also donated a portion of the money.