Pierce County's "Shop With a Cop" program is back for its fourth year, set to give children in need a ride with law enforcement officials and a roughly $100 shopping spree at Shopko.
The annual program is set for 4-8 p.m. at Ellsworth Elementary School. Fifty kids will be paired with an officer to do various activities at the school together, and later will ride with officers to go on a short shopping spree for Christmas gifts for family and themselves.
The kids and law enforcement members will then return to the school and wrap the gifts up with Santa and Mrs. Claus in attendance.
"A lot of times [officers] deal with devastation, unfortunately we deal with people that are on drugs, in bad car accidents," said Pierce County Sheriff's Office Lt. Steve Albarado. "This is something where ... we get to be involved with something that is fun."
Albarado founded the event four years ago, in hopes of finding a way to give back to the community during the holiday season, and shining a positive light on officers.
The event brings in volunteers from local towns' police departments, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin State Patrol and others.
"This is something that really displays officers doing something that is good," Albarado said. "We just have a great time, we have so much fun."
For the fairest selection process possible, kids in need are only selected through area schools and through the county's department of human services, he said.
Anyone interested in donating to the event or sponsoring a child can make donations at the Pierce County Sheriff's Office at 555 W Overlook Drive in Ellsworth. Checks can be made out to "Shop With A Cop" under Steve Albarado's attention. For questions, Albarado can be reached at 715-273-6809.