Shop With A Cop Program A Big Success

By: Michelle Riell
By: Michelle Riell

A handful of kids in Dane County are resting up after getting most of their Christmas shopping finished on Sunday morning. With help from the community, dozens of kids with good grades and good behavior shopped until they dropped.

Armed with $150 each and one of Dane County's finest, the inside of the East Madison Target store was transformed into a giant gift grab. Alex Albis is one of more than 60 kids selected to go on the shopping spree. He says he's never spent this much money before.

The kids in Dane County were selected by their schools for being all around good students. Detective Dave Gouran is with the Madison Police Department and says, "a kid is selected from each school based on their good academics and their good behavior, these are really good kids who are here today."

Once they arrived, each kid grabbed a cop or a deputy and began aisle surfing to find the perfect gifts. Alex says he's looking to stretch his $150 to the max. "Electronics, toys, all that kind of stuff."

For many kids this is a chance to do more than just cross things off their own wish lists. Alex says he looking for stuff for his sister, his dad and his dad's girlfriend. But for Alex, picking out the perfect gift took a few laps around the store and careful consideration. Officer Jason Sweeney took Alex around the store and says, "Alex is pretty fast, we're moving all over the store, so I'm trying to keep up with him." And keep up with how much he's spending. Officer Sweeney's a veteran of the shop with a cop program. He enjoys watching them light up when they fill their carts, while being a positive role model. "I work patrol, so a lot of times there's a lot of negative contacts out there and so it's a good way to have a positive contact with people in the community," says Sweeney. Kathy Wessel is with the Dane County Sheriff's office and has been participating in the program for a few years. Wessel says, "we have a lot of the same deputies do it year after year and really get a kick out of helping out." Helping out and helping to make the holiday season a little brighter for already bright kids like Alex.

The tab for the shopping spree is being picked up by Target and numerous community partners. Madison Cab gave the kids a lift to Target and then gave the kids a complimentary ride to the VFW where they wrapped presents and ate Little Caesars Pizza, which was also donated.

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