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‘Our favorite time of the year’

Nicholasville Police officers’ annual Shop with a Cop event a success

tradition dating back 22 years in Jessamine County, Nicholasville Police Department’s Shop with a Cop event took place Saturday at Walmart.

More than 100 local children were each given a $125 gift card to shop with a local officer for things they needed or wanted.

“We don’t put any restrictions on these kids,” NPD officer Ben Rugg said. “We usually ask if there is anything they need, if they need clothes or shoes or anything like that. If the parents say no, they go and have fun on the toy aisle. If they say they do, we try and get sizes and get them the appropriate kind of clothes.”

After the shopping spree, the officers escort the children to the employee break room where they are given donuts in the morning and pizza in the afternoon.

“Every kid gets the same amount of money,” Rugg said. “Sometimes they go a couple dollars over but there are also kids that go a few dollars under, so it evens out.”

Children are chosen with the help of the Jessamine County school board, Rugg said. NDP partners throughout the year with the family resource officers located in each school. Lists are handed out, and after a brief check to make sure the children are not on any other list in the county letters are mailed out with information on how to participate.

Rugg said the NPD works to rotate children every two to three years in order to try and reach every Jessamine County child that is in need.

The event, Rugg said, is funded through donations. Local sponsors include Jessamine County businesses which Rugg stops in on his days off and visits with asking for help to raise funds.

“I get $20 to $30 from everybody, but that adds up,” Rugg said. “Our major sponsors right now are Alltech, they are very generous and I can’t say enough good things about Alltech. A lot of the area banks, Farmers Bank, United Bank and Kentucky Bank, they help. There are a couple other private citizens that make significant donations to us as well. It is completely on donations.”

Saturday, Rugg helped Xavier Robinson from Warner Elementary shop during the event. Xavier showed up with a list already in mind.

“I want army shoes and Beyblade,” Robinson said.

“This year, there have been a lot of kids that are taking clothes and shoes, but most of them want toys and that is perfectly fine,” Rugg said. “We had one boy in here that was all about the Avengers. He was as happy as I have seen. But some of these kids will really tug at your heartstrings.”

“Cops and Kids is a great way that the Nicholasville Police Department can give back to the citizens of Jessamine County that may not have a Christmas this year,” Nicholasville Police Chief Todd Justice said. “It is good for both our officers and the community.”