Cut Bank’s annual Shop with a Cop program was held on Friday, Dec. 11, with 15 children receiving the opportunity to go on a shopping spree at Norman’s Outdoor Sports.
The children paired up with local police officers and program sponsors to shop for essentials, such as winter jackets, snow pants, shoes and a handful of their favorite toys.
This year, the event was again sponsored by Stockman Bank, First Interstate Bank and Edward Jones. Norman’s was also part of the holiday generosity with a discount to the overall purchases of each child.
Dressing children in need has been a goal of the Cut Bank Police Department’s “Shop with a Cop” program each year and 2020’s version proved to be no different.
“This is a super important event for us and it really helps these children to have that opportunity to go on a shopping spree,” Cut Bank Assistant Chief of Police Josh Simonds said. “It really is humbling and helps to give these kids the clothes and some toys that they may want for Christmas.”
The 15 children selected for the program were given $150 to work with as they shopped the Norman’s Outdoor Sports shelves. The program was supported in its first year through grant money but recently has been funded through the local sponsors. That generosity of the local businesses has been something that has not ceased to amaze Simonds and the CBPD.
“It really is so incredible to me how generous the people and businesses of this community are,” Simonds said. “The outpouring of support from Edward Jones, Stockman Bank, Norman’s and First Interstate has been amazing. Here in northern Montana there has always been a real sense of community and events like this just go to highlight that even more.”
Apart from having the opportunity to help clothe and treat a group of local children, Simonds noted the event is a great opportunity for the children to see police officers in a different light.
“Generally, nobody calls the police because they’re having a great day. Something catastrophic has happened or law enforcement is needed,” Simonds said. “This humanizes us and, more importantly, it helps us to build connections with the youth. There are good, trustworthy adults out there that they can turn to if they have questions or need help.”
Simonds also mentioned how important the event is for the police officers as well.
“It can be easy in this profession to get a little callous with the interactions that we have with people and the social perceptions of law enforcement,” Simonds said. “Things like this really help to ground us and help our officers to understand that there are a lot of people in the community that appreciate what they do every day.”
With so many positives coming out of an hour timeframe, it is easy to see why “Shop with a Cop” is one of the best feel-good events of the Cut Bank Christmas season.