Despite the early hour on a Saturday, there were plenty of smiles as Yukon police officers and Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers joined 22 children from Yukon to shop for Christmas presents.
The annual Christmas with a Cop was a huge success, said Susie Wright, who heads up the program for the Yukon Police Department.
“This is what we do,” Wright said as she looked around the police department’s community room, which was filled with bright-eyed children prepared to go shopping.
Each of the children was chosen from applications filled out through the school district. Most were nominated by school counselors.
The idea is to pair each child with an officer, many of whom brought their own children to help out.
The morning started with a free breakfast of sausage biscuits or a breakfast burrito, courtesy the Yukon McDonald’s. Then the children loaded into police cars, some of which had lights flashing and sirens blaring, for a trip to Target.
There, they children were given about $300 to spend on their families as well as themselves to buy Christmas gifts.
The money for the program was all donated. Several local businesses had donation boxes during November, and local organizations and individuals made private donations.
“These people donate every year,” Wright said.
Wright said the number of children was down slightly over previous years. Two of those invited to participate were out of town, while another chose to participate through another program.
“We were down slightly, but we still had a good time,” she said.
Yukon officers were paired with the children, helping them pick out their gifts as well as wrapping them back at the station.
The shopping spree took about an hour and a half.
For many of the police officers, it was an opportunity to teach their own children about giving back.
Officer Rashard Ellis brought his two daughters, Kailyn and Kadence, along for the event.
“They need to experience it. It is something you do to help other people,” he said.
Ellis also said he enjoys participating in the event.
“It helps make sure everyone has an enjoyable Christmas,” he said.
For Sgt. Shelly George, who had her son, Dalton, along for the event, it was Christmas with a Cop number three.
“I like giving back to the community. December and Christmas are special,” she said.
The volunteer program began in 2008.