Utica, N.Y. - The aisles of Walmart in Utica were filled with more blue than ever before on Saturday. That blue came in the form of the blue uniforms of police officers.
The annual Utica Shop With a Cop event was held, courtesy of the Thomas Lindsey Foundation, named after Utica Police Officer Thomas Lindsey who was killed in the line of duty on April 12th, 2007 during a traffic stop.
The foundation raises money throughout the year to put this annual event on. The two main fundraisers are the Brothers Forever Ride and The Thomas M. Lindsey Memorial Golf Tournament.
Lindsey's fellow officers say Tom loved children, and he would have loved to have seen the smiles on the faces of the kids and their parents as they made their way around the store to do a little shopping with a $100 gift card.
Shakeema Patterson of Utica and her two kids were among those who were given the opportunity to shop with a cop this year. Patterson says this truly is a very meaningful thing that the police officers do, "It’s helpful to parents that don’t really have a lot of money to support their kids, and these officers come out and help the kids."
Many local agencies beside the Utica Police Department took part on Saturday, including the New Hartford Police Department, Rome Police Department and Oneida County Sheriff's Department.
Oneida County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Greg Pflieger says this really is a smile-making event, even for the members of law enforcement who take part, "It truly brings out the whole holiday atmosphere. The feeling is tremendous when you get the opportunity to take a child through the store. And what really makes it special is most of these kids are buying presents for other people, whether it be be their parents or whatever. I had a little girl today who bought something for her pet, her pet cat. They're so unselfish, everything they’re doing is for somebody else and it’s really remarkable, it’s truly a great event."
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