OZARK (KFSM) -- The annual "Shop With A Cop" program in Ozark allows kids to spend the day with an officer or deputy and pick out Christmas presents.
Kids from several parts of Franklin County were each paired up with a personal shopping buddy at the Walmart in Ozark.
Nearly 100 children participated between Wednesday (Dec. 9) and Thursday (Dec. 10), according to Ozark Police Department Office Manager Brenda Atkinson. The Ozark Police Department has been hosting the event for about 15 years.
"You see that sparkle in their eye because they're excited because they get to go out and shop and get some things they might not get to have otherwise,” Det. Grant Nicely.
Nine-year-old Zailey Nichols from Altus shopped with a cop for the first time, filling her cart with all kinds of toys.
“I got an Elsa bank and some lip balm, and a lip balm maker and some gum,” she said.
“A lot of times they want some clothes, shoes, coats, things like that, and what's left over they want to get toys or candy,” Nicely said.
Many kids, like Zailey, weren't just shopping for themselves.
“I got some stuff for my cousin and my sisters,” she said.
Each child was able to spend $125. Nicely said in the past, about 80 children were able to participate.
This year the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office raised money for the event, allowing more kids to go shopping.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Ozark Police Department, Ozark Fire Department, Ozark EMS, Arkansas State Police, Altus Police Department, Arkansas Game and Fish, Arkansas Probation and Parole, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the 5th judicial Drug Task Force all participated in the event, according to Atkinson.
All of the agencies participating spent a combined $10,000 this year in Ozark.
Donations for the event are accepted year-round.