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Kids cram carts at annual Shop with a Cop
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Gainesville Police Department holds its annual Shop With A Cop Friday, Dec., 15, 2017 at the Shallowford Road Wal-Mart. Officer Michelle Castillo joins Jackie Gomez, and Aedin Sosa, 11 and Enota Elementary counselor Maria Olalde in the clothing department looking for socks. - photo by Scott Rogers

Jalynn Partlow, 8, led a convoy of Gainesville Police officers through the back end of the Shallowford Road Wal-Mart on Friday.

When she reached the arts and crafts, she knew she hit the jackpot.

“She likes to do iron-on patches. She likes to sew things on top of other things. She’s really artistic,” her mother Patrice Partlow said.

Jalynn and 15 other kids took part in the Gainesville Police’s Shop with a Cop program, where each child had a police escort through the shopping center with $200 to burn.

Cpl. Drew Reed said the annual event gave the kids “an opportunity to come out, hang out with the police officers and get themselves some gifts.” Often, the kids will spend part of their allotted money on siblings and other family members.

“This is a very heartwarming thing for us to be able to do for the community,” Reed said, adding that donations came from Pilgrim's Pride.

Code enforcement manager Sarah Wilson-Britt followed a pair of siblings, who split the cart with “Frozen” toys and video games.

“It’s exciting to put a little spirit in these kids’ lives that may not have it otherwise,” she said. “It’s good to be a part of this and let the kids just go crazy.”

Some officers’ shopping supervision ended quickly when one child spent the whole card on a gaming console. Others watched as the children crawled through the shelves to find the exact “Trolls” doll they wanted, priced $2.88 each.

After the last toy had been scanned, Officer Natalia Ramirez and others loaded up the cart for Jaurice Sherrod, 7, and JaQuaylon Rucker, 10. The favorites of the day for Jaurice was a King Kong action figure and a grabber toy.

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