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Shop with a Cop a hit with kids and officers

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - Members of the Utica and New Hartford Police Departments weren't 'called in' to the Target in Sangertown Square on Saturday, but they definitely responded in a big way.

The two police agencies held the third annual 'Shop with a Cop' event. Fundraisers throughout the year raised the $10,000 to put smiles on kids faces this holiday season. 100 kids were each given $100.00 gift cards to spend on whatever they wanted.

One of those kids was Alexia Davis of Utica, who was excited recently when the mail came. She said, "I got a letter in the mail saying that I won 'Shop with a Cop'."

An officer is paired up with each child to take them on their shopping spree.

Utica Police Chief Mark Williams says he enjoyed his time with a Utica youngster named Evan. He said, "He had his list of things for each family member that he wanted to get. And your heart goes out because they're not even thinking about themselves, they're thinking about their sister, their mom, aunt and uncle."

Utica Police Investigator Jim Laurey says the Thomas Lindsay Foundation holds fundraisers throughout the year. He said, "The Thomas Lindsay Foundation was started when Officer Tom Lindsay was killed in the line of duty, a group of his peers got together, decided to start a foundation, collected money, donations from around the community, what we do is give back in honor of Tom's name."

This event is designed not only to give kids a better Christmas, but to teach kids when they're young, that police aren't the bad guys.

Officers like Utica Patrolman Damien Golden say they really do develop a friendship with these kids. He said, "I have children of my own, and just to see them walk through the aisles, their full of life, the opportunity to grab whatever they want, it's absolutely incredible, I'm a big kid myself at heart, being with them is just like hanging with my friends."

The police agencies work with local agencies to select the kids in the area who receive the gift cards.

Investigator Laurey says there are other criteria than just economic need. He said, "it could be a kid who has been doing very good in school, and maybe he wasn't doing too good in the beginning ot the year or last year, he has made a great achievement into just doing a good job."

Laurey says each year this event has gotten bigger. He said, "we started off with the first year and only 40 kids and now we're up to 100 kids this year."

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