60 students from the Winnipeg schools spent the whole day of Christmas shopping in an unusual way.
They received a gift certificate for $200, which they spent on gifts at St. Vital Center in the company of the Winnipeg police officers. This annual event is called CopShop and was held already for 12th time.
Children to participate in the action were selected from 6 different school departments. The list included children with outstanding academic achievements, active volunteers, as well as those in need.
One of the schoolgirls shared her impressions of the exciting event. Schoolgirl Lacey was very surprised when she was called into the principal's office, and even frightened. But when she knew that she could use the gift voucher for $200 in the company of a police officer, the experiences were replaced by great joy and pleasant excitement.
In the mall, each child was paired up with a policeman, then they planned their route and went shopping. Claire’s, EB Games and Walmart were the leaders in visits.
This annual event is aimed at establishing friendly relations between the young population of the city and the police. The police say that such actions are useful both for children and for the officers themselves. Winnipeg Police Service Cst. Chika Modozie said that many see the police in a negative light, and such events help to see them from the other side. The positive experience of interacting with the policemen will help children not to be afraid of them and to provide them with possible assistance in the future, she added.
Brianne, another participant of the event, said that it was one of the most interesting days in her life and she will remember it for a long time. She noted that spending the whole day shopping with the policeman turned out to be a very fun experience.
Patrol Sgt. Jeff Boehm took part in each of the 12 events. He says that this is the best work day a policeman can have. He added that seeing the smiles on the faces of children is very motivating for further work.
After shopping, all the children and officers got together for having pizza, and the children were presented with special bags as a gift from the merchants of the mall.