Police aid children in spree
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Dec 01, 2012 | 6470 views | 18 18 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shop with a cop
Racquel Santo, 7, has a tough time deciding on a toy as she looks over the selection with officer Dwayne Pedersen during the Ninth Annual Shop with a Cop event at Walmart on Saturday, Dec. 1. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
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A look of excitement was on the face of seven-year-old Racquel Santo as she held a purple My Little Pony toy she had found while shopping with officer Dwayne Pedersen during the Ninth Annual Shop with a Cop event in Walmart on Saturday, Dec. 1.

“Look I got a Little Pony named Twilight,” she said with a broad smile. “It’s fun. I didn’t even see the My Little Pony toys, because I was looking the other way. He (Pedersen) helped me.”

Santo was one of 34 second graders who were chosen by officials at Tracy Unified and Jefferson school districts to take part in the event.

The children were selected because they had endured a financial hardship or had displayed good citizenship at their respective schools.

Each child was given a $50 gift card donated by Walmart and distributed by the Tracy Police Department Volunteers In Police Services. Each child shopped with one of the 22 Tracy police officers who volunteered their time.

“It’s always a good reminder of how blessed we are,” said officer Octavio Lopez. “Kids are innocent and it only takes a minute to make a positive impact. It’s a good feeling.”

Children started their morning with a visit with Santa, played by chief of police, Gary Hampton.

Michelle Clark was all smiles as she watched her son Landen wait for his turn to meet Santa.

“I think this is awesome,” she said. “I told him he was doing it because he is doing so good in school. Now he thinks it pays to do good in school. He’s super excited.”

Then it was off to shopping with their assigned officer to search the toy aisles for the perfect gift.

Shelley Hill was accompanied by her 10-year-old son, Bailey Burrows, and his sister, Madison.

“I never heard about this before,” Hill said. “I don’t have lots of money so it’s cool. I’m a single mom. It’s great that these cops do this.”

With thousands of toys to choose from, some of the children found it hard to decide.

“The fun part is helping them pick out toys,” said Sgt. Tony Sheneman, who was happy his seven-year-old shopping partner had chosen a remote control police car. “They tell Santa what they want and then they forget. It’s hard to chose, because they are given the keys to a big toy store.”

At the conclusion of their shopping, the children had breakfast with the officers at McDonald’s, which donated all of the meals.

Cachu said his favorite part of the morning was getting a remote control motorcycle.

“It’s really fun to see the kids get excited,” said officer Steve Blair as he sat at McDonalds with seven-year-old Adrian Cachu. “The enjoyment on their face makes it all worth it.”

“I’ve been doing this since we started and it gets bigger every year,” said officer Tim Bauer, who helped seven-year-old Jesus Guterrez Jr. pick out a Lego SpongeBob and a remote control truck.

“It’s good for the kids to see us in a positive light,” Bauer said. “It’s the whole experience.”

Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
Comments
(18)
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bruelladeville
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December 07, 2012
I can't get over the repulsiveness of the people who have posted on this story. Why can't an act of kindness in our community just be taken for what it is? Instead, you chose to spread your nastiness amongst kind hearted people. You should all get a life, or better yet, do something yourself to promote goodwill towards others. Your nastiness sucks! In 20-30 years you are going to wonder why your kids are so nasty. Take a look in the mirror people.
cruelladeville
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December 07, 2012
Love the name bru, and really love the comment. Let's attack and shred even the little things that seem kind. The article made me smile, the comments then made me sick. One last thing, I have smart kids, but have yet to have any of them ask me for today's Tracy press......as far as ruining the Santa thing played by the chief.
debbdaves
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December 04, 2012
In contrast to you who is always complimentary and never sarcastic? Thats like the kettle calling the pot black, back in black.
backinblack
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December 04, 2012
DD, Figures, you were the only one to post a negative comment on the story about Tom B passing away, and here you are again being negative on a story about acts of kindness.

Same to pcmiles, you two want to criticize the police, Chief, et al? Fine, that's your right and it's healthy to question our officials if we have concerns as citizens, however, as with dd's comment about Tom B's passing, this is not the time or place.

By the way, did either of you consider it might be a good idea for the police to interact with youth to maybe help prevent them from going on to being someone who loots banks in broad daylight?

If you two would like to share some of your ideas on crime prevention please do so, maybe they'll work out better than what the police are now doing.
debbdaves
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December 03, 2012
If the PD can't be entrusted to prevent crime they are not doing their job. What are they preventing by lecturing to kids? We need them patrolling the streets, not sitting behind desks.
debbdaves
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December 03, 2012
I agree with pcmiles. Trying to improve your image by playing santa clause, or robin hood by teaching school kids during office hours, does not take away the lack of confidence the public feels when banks are looted in broad day light repeatedly.......
oldleathers
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December 03, 2012
debbdaves.... so which bank, retail business or home would you recommend the PD keep an eye on first? where do you think they should station themselves to "prevent" car wrecks? for the most part the PD is charged with being respnsive to acts of law breaking and investigating crimes. there are very few, if any, they can prevent.
pcmiles
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December 03, 2012
While the individual police officers should be commended for donating their time to this activity, let’s not forget that Walmart donated the $1700 in gift cards. For my part, I’d prefer it if the police department improved their image by performing their duties with honesty and integrity than by playing Santa Claus.
victor_jm
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December 03, 2012
PCmiles,

Don’t you think your admonition of the police department improving its image “with honesty and integrity” in another fashion than “playing Santa Claus” might be applied to any demographic?

goarmy2
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December 03, 2012
And I'm sure the PD would prefer you work on your mental health
backinblack
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December 02, 2012
What exactly does this great story about an act of kindness have to do with kids growing up too fast? Are you kidding?

Is it any different when a parent buy's a Christmas gift for their child? All of sudden if it's purchased through a program like this, the kids are growing up too fast?

If you want to make an argument against kids growing up too fast let's have that discussion but this isn't the place and it's definitely not related in anyway to this story.

I'm with OG, say thanks and good job to everyone involved and appreciate it for the act of kindness which it is.
LoveMyKids8
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December 02, 2012
backinblack - the comment made about growing up too fast was simply allowing them to believe a little longer. The kids that went and saw Santa that morning, and then come to the TP to read this article and all of a sudden learn that it was the police chief in costume. It was a simple comment to allow kids to be kids and not spoil the magic by including the name. It had nothing to do with the kindness of the event. Clearly I should have just emailed Denise since I wasn't trying to make any broad statements about kindness. So sorry I've interfered on your little blog here. Lesson learned.
doors17
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December 02, 2012
If the kids ask what's with all the different Santa's all over town? How can he be everywhere? Just tell them that they're Santa's helpers and the one they had their picture taken with was the real one. They'll accept that for an answer.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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December 02, 2012
Amazing!

A very large group of people, not only those who make up the Tracy Police Department, band together for the common cause of making the lives of children who's families don't have the wherewithal to give those children much during the Christmas season and the first two comments are complaints.

To all the people who made this possible, GOOD JOB, and I wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Wish I could have found some way to help in this myself. Thanks to all of you for your compassion and service to humanity. Keep up the good work.
me-here
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December 07, 2012
Hey, Ornley, do appreciate your comments better when you didn't garble up the language. Thanks, much better.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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December 07, 2012
me-here

I can understand that but don't get too use ta it.

Ya might have missed th reason I write in this fashion an its actually in honor of a man who had a terrific positive influence on thousands of lives an quite frankly, his drawl was easier ta speak than ta write. Still, he wrote like he spoke.

In a very large part th original Ornley Gumfudgen, his actual name belive it or not, is responsible fer th life I live taday in a great many ways.

Sum thank I'm bein cantankerous or makin fun of those with little education. But truly, this is th way I attempt ta honor th man who meant so much ta so many people in th frank an down ta earth ways that he helped em without expectin anythang in return.

So please, don't be too hard on me fer th way I choose ta write cus it's my way of payin tribute ta th original Ornley Gumfudgen.

Ornley was a very educated man but quite unassumin.

I asked him one day why he spoke an wrote th way he did an he said it tended ta slow th thankin of folks down so they could better understand what he was tryin ta get across ta em without em first jumpin ta th wrong conclusion an havin ta deal with that. Made sense.

Merry Christmas ta ya.
Annie13
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December 02, 2012
I agree kids grow up way to fast We dont need to rush them!
LoveMyKids8
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December 01, 2012
I think ..."played by chief of police, Gary Hampton" needs to be removed asap. There are still believers out there (and even a kid might read an article about kids getting money to shop). Let's not make kids grow up too fast please. Thank you.


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