Sirens were blaring as a large police presence was spotted
in Palm Desert Saturday morning.
But the 7 a.m. caravan of black-and-white patrol cars and police motorcycle escorts was all for a good cause as the Palm Desert Sheriff’s Station completed its 5th annual “Shop with a Cop” program at Palm Desert’s Walmart.
Forty-five children, assisted by 18 officers from the Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells police departments -- as well as Palm Desert Station Explorers and Palm Desert Citizen’s on Patrol –raced into Walmart Saturday morning to shop for their Christmas wishes.
A total of $6,000 was donated by Walmart and the cities of Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells.
In the Walmart parking lot, the kids were also treated to a personal safety fair as they climbed on the motorcycles, sat in police cars and took photographs in front of the store with officers and Santa.
“This year’s event went extremely well and the expressions on the children and officers’ faces were filled with joy,” read a news release from sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Bianco. “This event allowed officers the opportunity to share a special day with these children and their families under a positive set of circumstances. Rarely are we able to exchange the smiles and laughter experienced during this event with the communities we serve.”
The children who participated in Saturday’s event were selected by school resource officers, personnel from the county’s Child Protective Services, as well as deputies who participate in local Community Oriented Policing programs. It was determined the 45 kids would benefit from the special attention.
Money not spent by the children, along with $110 donated by spontaneous citizen donors shopping in Walmart, will be used to purchase bicycles and toys to be distributed to other needy children in the community.
“A special thank you goes out to the cities of Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells along with the entire staff of Walmart for their donations, cooperation and commitment to the community. Without their efforts this event would not be possible,” Bianco wrote.