Deserving students receive holiday shopping spree with Winnipeg police

Some Winnipeg students got to experience Christmas shopping in a special way on Wednesday afternoon.Sixty children were given a $200 gift certificate to St. Vital Centre, and got to spend the day shopping with a Winnipeg police officer.For this year’s 12th annual ‘CopShop’, students were selected from six different school divisions and chosen based on need, significant volunteer efforts or school achievements.Story continues below

READ MORE: Friends, bosses and in-laws: How much should you spend on holiday gifts?Lacey, one of the students selected, said she was initially confused when she got called into the principal’s office.“Then he told me I get to spend $200 and get to do it with the police. I was so surprised and shocked that I was shaking and I couldn’t say anything.”At the mall, students were paired up with a cop, planned out their shopping route and then got to work. Claire’s, EB Games and Walmart were some of the most popular stores to visit.The event happens each year as a way to foster positive relationships between youth and local law enforcement. Winnipeg Police Service Cst. Chika Modozie says it’s volunteer efforts like these that help humanize cops.“We’re first responders. So unfortunately sometimes you see us only in the bad situation,” she said.“But this kind of situation — it’s a positive situation and a positive time for the kids, so hopefully they can associate Winnipeg police with a positive experience.”Another CopShop participant, Brianne, says her afternoon with the police will be something she remembers for a long time.“It’s my first time actually shopping with a police officer, so it’s really fun being with police officers and shopping around,” she says.READ MORE: Winnipeg Boys and Girls Clubs compete against copsPatrol Sgt. Jeff Boehm has worked the event all 12 years, saying that this event is always one of his favourite to take part in.“It’s the best day that we can have at work, really.”“You get to hang out with the kids, take them shopping, see the smiles on their faces — it’s pretty tough to beat that,” says Boehm.After a busy afternoon, cops and the students bonded further over a pizza lunch. Students also received a gift bag, donated by the merchants of St. Vital Centre.Get daily local headlines and alerts