SOUTHINGTON - Officers from area police departments brought some cheer to underprivileged children Thursday.
They were participating in the fifth annual Shop with a Cop program, made possible by the REACH Foundation, a Farmington-based nonprofit organization.
“It’s a blast,” Bristol Officer Peter Sassu said. “(REACH) gives each kid $100 to buy gifts for their family at Target, and we also get to pick out a gift for someone in the community.”
“I usually pick a family at (Bristol) Eastern (High School),” said Sassu, a resource officer at the school.
Before the big shopping trip to Target, police were introduced to the children at Crystal Bees, on Spring Street. There, they got to know each other, share pizza and play arcade games. Children were given game cards that allowed them to play for 30 minutes fre.
Participants included officers from Bristol, Southington, Plainville, Farmington and other area departments, as well as state police.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Southington Officer Jim Valentine. “It’s a good time to just sit back and hang out with some good kids. And they get a different view of police.”
Bristol Lt. Richard Guerrera said this is his first year participating in Shop with a Cop, and that he has been looking forward to the opportunity.
“The last couple years I had things going on, but this year I was finally free,” Guerrera said. “We’re going to eat some food, hang out and then go shopping.”
Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould called it a privilege to be able to meet area children and help give them a nice Christmas.
“It’s a great time,” the chief said. “Every time I do it it’s a rewarding experience. I always have a great time and great conversations with the children.”
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Justin Muszynski on Twitter @muszynskiBP.