Police help students gear-up for school
There's more to protecting a community than policing.
On Thursday, Aug. 16, about 20 members of the Beaverton Police Department gathered at the Fred Meyer store on Beaverton Hillsdale Highway. There, they connected with an estimated 25 youths for the third annual Shop with a Cop event.
Some of the students came from local shelters, according to Consuelo Star, community outreach coordinator for the department. Others were recommended by area schools. Still others, the officers themselves selected after meeting the youths and their families.
"Some of these kids come to us after our officers have interacted with their families. The officers realize they would benefit from this program," said Capt. Mike Smith, ranking officer at the event. "All of our officers look forward to an opportunity to spend time with kids doing something fun."
One such student, a Beaverton fifth-grader, is Carlos (last names and specific schools have been left out of this story). He had a specific need on that day of shopping: a hoodie. Not too heavy, not too light and no zippers, thank you.
He'd teamed up with Officer Jered Lutu, a member of the department's K-9 unit. Lutu was there to offer advice on what supplies a fifth-grader might need to get through the year ... along with some fashion advice. "I'm a Marvel guy," Lutu told Carlos.
"Oh yeah," Carlos nodded solemnly. "Batman's out."
Two aisles over, Captain Ronda Groshong pushed a cart along with Camilla, an incoming sixth-grader. Camilla was rocking a new purple sweater, sparkly shoes, "and a backpack, of course."
Each kid got a backpack, complete with binders, paper, pens and other school supplies. Partners for the event included Fred Meyer, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Summit Salon Academy, Newamerican, Ensley Orthodontics and Beaverton School District.
A.J., a fourth-grader, zoomed directly to the sneakers, Officer Jamie Beane in tow. A.J. knew exactly what he wanted — "Black shoes, not white. You get white ones dirty in, like, in a day," he explained.
The same was true for A.J.'s fashion sense. "I need two outfits, I think. At least. That'll get me through the first six days of school. After that ... I don't know. I like to look good. I like to look like I can dress myself. You know?"
This year's event got a boost last week from a $3,000 anonymous donation from a local family, according to Public Information Officer Jeremy Shaw. "We appreciate the family that could do that. They certainly feel a passion for helping the young people in this community," he said.
That $3,000 more than doubled the $2,800 that had been raised for the event.
Star said Beaverton's Shop with a Cop program is in its third year and has grown from 10 students to 25. It's patterned on a similar program run by the Portland Police Bureau.
"A lot of the students are nominated by officers," Star said. "Officers are often on the front line of seeing these families in crisis. They know."