The Berea Police Department hopes to lend a helping hand to some needy Berea families with a new program: Christmas with a Cop.
Christmas with a Cop was a concept created by the officers in the department, according to Berea Police Chief David Gregory. They were looking for a way to help local families when the idea came to mind. “Ninety-nine-point nine percent of them said they wanted to do something to help families, to shop with them, and we’re going to do it,” Gregory said.
With the help of the Family Resource/Youth Services Center (FRYSC) at Berea Community schools, the Berea Police Department will identify five or six families in need, then take them on a shopping spree. The shopping date will likely occur sometime in mid-December, Gregory said. He added they sought the assistance of the FRYSC at community so that officers could ensure they would be helping Berea kids in this first effort. “We felt with Berea Community we could definitely get kids in city limits. That was a concern for the officers, because they really wanted to give back to Berea,” Gregory said.
The department is looking to raise between $1,200 and $2,000 for the shopping sprees, and they are raising money a couple of ways. First, about 15 officers, including Chief Gregory, paid $30 to participate in “No Shave November,” in which officers can let their beards grow for the month. “All that money goes towards Christmas with a Cop,” Gregory said.
Secondly, they are selling T-shirts so that citizens can show their support for local law enforcement while helping families in need at Christmas time. The T-shirts are $15, and they can be purchased from the records clerk in the lobby of the Berea Municipal Police and Fire Safety Building. The deadline for helping Christmas with a Cop is December 12.
Coming up on Saturday, December 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Berea police will be partnering with Cash Express for their stuff the cruiser toy drive. Residents can drop off a new toy at the cruiser parked at 162 Mini Mall Drive in Berea. Most of the toy donations will go to the Berea Police Department for distribution, but the rest will be distributed among local churches.
Chief Gregory said this year’s Christmas with a Cop will start out small to see how it works, then it will likely expand as it goes forward. “It’s for a great cause. We’ve done things with Special Olympics, Law Enforcement Memorial in RIchmond, but this is our first Christmas project, and we’re pretty excited about it. Any help we can get is greatly appreciated.”