The Clark County Shop with a Cop program will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year with a drop in donations.
Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue said Clark County has always supported Shop with a Cop, but economic uncertainty has led to limited funding for the 2012 event.
“We think it’s just the economy,”¿Perdue said. “Expendable income is just not there.”
Each year, children are nominated for the program by school officials to be partnered with a local law enforcement official for Christmas shopping. Children are given $125 to spend as they choose, this year at Walmart.
“We try to start out in the clothing area with each one of them. ... then move on to toys or electronics or whatever they want to,” Perdue said.
The event began in 1992 as a project of the Winchester-Clark County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 34. Perdue was president of the lodge at the time and has been involved with Shop with a Cop ever since.
Similar programs are organized by FOP lodges across the country annually.
“It’s a little bit of everybody. About all law enforcement is represented,”¿Perdue said.
Typically, 15 to 20 officers will volunteer for shopping, including deputies from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Winchester Police Department Officers and retired law enforcement personnel.
“They look forward to this every year. We do several things throughout the year, but this is our most enjoyable and the one we like the best,” Perdue said.
Fundraising begins about two to three months in advance, Perdue said, by soliciting donations from local businesses and individuals. The number of children participating depends on the amount of money donated. In years past, as many ast 350 children were invited to shop. This year, Perdue expects to shop with about 150.
“This year, our fundraiser is way down, like most are with the economy,”¿he said.
Donations still are being accepted for this year’s shopping date, Dec. 23. Donations may be dropped off in person at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office or the Winchester Police Department. Donations also may be mailed to Shop with a Cop, P.O. Box 921, Winchester, KY 40392.
“They’ve (Clark County residents)¿always supported this program. They’ve been very, very good to us,”¿Perdue said.