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About 180 local children to shop with a cop on Dec. 14

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By PETER SAWYER

On Dec. 14, local law enforcement will take about 180 local children Christmas shopping as part of the Shop with a Cop program.
Jacksboro Police Chief Danny Chapman started the Shop with a Chop program with Wal-Mart about 15 years ago. Since then, about 1,700 children have been involved with the annual event. The Shop with a Cop program raises money to take children Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart.
“The donations come from businesses, churches, individuals,” Jacksboro Police Chief Danny Chapman said.
On Saturday, the police accepted donations at Wal-Mart.
“We really appreciate what the community does for that,” Chapman said.
The program allows police officers to take children Christmas shopping with the money raised. Every child that is chosen receives $75 to spend on Christmas presents at Wal-Mart. The children go wherever they want to, and the officers follow them.
“They get pretty much (what) they want,” Chapman said.
They buy food, clothes and toys.
This year, there will be two sessions: the first from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the second from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Before the children go shopping, they are fed pizza, chips and drinks. They are also told the Christmas story.
“We give them the meaning of Christmas-the birth of Christ,” Chapman said.
The children are also given a New Testament.
“Santa is there,” Chapman said.
Other agencies, such as the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, LaFollette Police Department, Caryville Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and fire departments help the JPD take the children shopping.
Children in kindergarten through fifth grade are chosen from among schools in Campbell County to participate in the Shop with a Cop program. The elementary schools choose the children.
“They know (who’s) most needy,” Chapman said. “They see (them) every day.”
Chapman anticipates taking between 150 and 180 children shopping with the money raised this year.