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The COVID pandemic resulted in several changes, but program still moves forward

PHOTO COURTESY OF PRINEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT
 - Prineville Police Department staff deliver gifts to families at the conclusion of the virtual Shop with a Cop event.COVID pandemic limitations have altered many holiday events and the Shop with a Cop program is no different.

Typically, local children would join staff from the Crook County Sheriff's Office and Prineville Police Department on a shopping trip to buy gifts for their loved ones. Last year, 10 kids boarded a bus with members of local law enforcement and headed to stores for the day. It was the first that Crook County kids had participated after years of local cops shopping with Central Oregon children living outside Crook County.

This year, like many other yuletide events, the local Shop with a Cop program took place virtually.

"2020 has been an interesting and difficult year for everyone, and we all have had to adapt in one way or another to all that has been going on this year. Shop with a Cop was no exception," said James Peterson, who played a prominent role in bringing the program to Crook County. "Children who attend Crook County schools, both virtual and in-classroom, were selected to shop with either a Prineville police officer or a Crook County deputy for their 2020 Christmas gifts."

Through an online process, gifts were purchased for nine local children and their families. Officers and deputies have been delivering the gift orders during the last few weeks and were done by the first week of December.

"Just in time to enjoy some holiday cheer," Peterson remarked.

Shop with a Cop is funded entirely by donations from community members. Peterson stresses that without their continued support, programs like this would not exist.

And even though the main Shop with a Cop event has concluded, law enforcement is encouraging interested locals to donate to children in the community.

"If you're interested in contributing to giving Prineville and Crook County children a special holiday to remember, we collect monetary donations year-round," Peterson said. "Your donations can be dropped off at the Prineville Police department, Crook County Sheriff's Office or mailed to 400 NE Third St., Prineville, OR 97754."

He went on to ask people to put "Shop with a Cop" or "SWAC" in the comment line to make sure their donation goes directly to the program. Cash is also accepted, and people are asked to put a note or letter specifying what the purpose of the donation.


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