Photo taken from recent Shop With a Cop conducted by the Alton Police Department, featuring Officer Emily Hejna shopping with a young boy

GRANITE CITY - Several area police departments, including Alton, host a "Shop With a Cop" event, during which local children in need are invited to purchase Christmas gifts with donated money from either the community or police department in the company of local public servants.

This Sunday, Dec. 17, the Granite City will be hosting its first Shop With a Cop event for 10 children chosen by the Granite City School District. Those children will meet with police officers at 10 a.m. at the Granite City Township building, located at 2060 Delmar Ave. for a complete lights and sirens escort to the Granite City Wal-Mart.

"Once there, they will have their choice of a new bicycle or a new Razor scooter, which were donated by an anonymous community business," Lieutenant Jenna DeYong and Detective Lieutenant Nicholas Novacich said in an email.

After receiving their new bike or scooter, those 10 children will spend the next hour one-on-one with one of several officers who have volunteered their off-duty time to participate in this event. According to the email, those officers are hoping to make a positive impact on their community.

Those children will be able to select from winter clothing, necessities and toys until they have finished their shopping mission. They will then return with the officers for pizza and refreshments.

"The money for the event was donated by a local business who wishes to remain anonymous," Novacich said in an email.

As of now, this is the only community outreach program the Granite City Police Department is planning.

"This is the only event we have scheduled at this time, but are always looking for and pursuing other ideas to interact with our community in a positive light," Novacich said in an email.

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Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at cory@riverbender.com

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