Fifteen police officers stormed the front doors of the Target store in Novato on Saturday morning — with 37 smiling kids right with them.
The Novato Police Department recently was awarded a $750 community grant from Target to launch the new Shop with a Cop program, and Saturday was holiday shopping spree day.
"The event was successful and a great way for us to give back to the youth in our community," Lt. Jennifer Welch said.
The police force included Lt. Keith Heiden, who is retiring Thursday after a 27-year career with Novato PD and more than 30 years overall.
Novato PD worked with the Novato Youth Center and the Novato Human Needs Center to identify families in need with children ages 5-13, and 40 kids were chosen. The kids were given a Target gift card to go on a spree along with the cops in tow to buy a gift for themselves and/or a parent.
Community outreach has been a mantra within Novato PD, and the Shop with a Cop event goes a long way toward establishing some tinsel-tinged rapport with the younger crowd.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our officers to interact with our youth," Novato Police Chief Berg said last week. "It will strengthen our relationships and help bring joy to their holiday season. I am so grateful to our community partners in working with us on this program.”
Donations have already come from Hennessy Advisors, the Novato Police Managers Association, the Novato Police Officers Association and individual community members.
Interested in helping with this event next year? Contact Welch at email@example.com or 897-4361.
"Thank you to those who donated and we look forward to partnering with Target next year," Welch said.