Missouri police help kids celebrate Christmas

9 months 3 days 4 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 12:00:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in Top Stories
By: Maia McDonald, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY - Some Jefferson City kids are getting the chance at a Merry Christmas this year with the help of several Missouri law enforcement groups.

The Jefferson City Police Department is hosting its annual Operation T.O.Y.S. (Take Our Youth Shopping) event. 

Officers from Jefferson City, Cole County Sheriff's Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri Capitol Police, Missouri Department of Corrections and Lincoln University Police Department will each be partnered with a child in the holiday event. 

"Operation T.O.Y.S is a program that started well over twenty years ago and the point of the event is that might not normally have a good Christmas due to maybe  conditions at home," said Captain Doug Shoemaker, Special Services Division Commander and Public Information Officer for JCPD. "[It's] to give them kind of an opportunity to enjoy Christmas a little bit more."

Because the JCPD doesn't have room in its budget to pay for all of the toys itself, members of the community as well as local businesses donate funds to cover the costs. 

"We have a fund we've established that we can carry into the next year too to make sure we have support,"Shoemaker said. "But, again, [it's] a very giving community. Without them we wouldn't be able to do this."

Shoemaker says they're grateful each year for the donations they receive for the children.

"It's this great partnership between the police and public that we want to emphasize the positive side of things. The getting to know people behind the badge and getting really more involved in the community and this is a direct way to do it," Shoemaker said.

JCPD works with school resource officers within Jefferson City Public Schools to pick children who may be in need of gifts for Christmas. 

"There's certain criteria that sort of fall into that and we always have this great turnout every year," Shoemaker said. "This year we have well in excess of eighty kids.

Children and their families will begin arriving between 6:30 A.M. and 7:30 A.M. to enjoy a Walmart-sponsored breakfast and to give the officers time to bond with the children. Then they'll be paired with an officer and head to Walmart Supercenter in a police-escorted procession, lights flashing and sirens whirring. 

"At that point we'll all park and Santa will come out and greet the kids and then we'll go inside and it's a lot of fun," Shoemaker said. "At the end they even get to take their presents to some volunteers who are there to wrap the presents if they buy presents for other people."

Shoemaker says often times the children like to buy gifts for their family and friends in addition to gifts for themselves. For him the event perfectly reflects the police department's goals of community outreach.

"We've always been big proponents of community policing and this is an extension of that," Shoemaker said. "The more we can do with getting to address and deal with kids at a younger age that it doesn't have to be a negative contact. There are positive things. We're here to protect them."

Similarly, Captain John Hotz of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says participating in the event helps them reach out to the community.

"It's a great way to show our support to the community and help out those who are less fortunate and to help bring smiles to them at a time they may not otherwise have them," Hotz said.  

For Shoemaker, it's events like these that make the job worth it. 

"It's an early morning and it's just a lot of fun when you kind see these kids who are ready to go and see Santa and they're ready to go Christmas shopping," Shoemaker said. "Even 25 years in this business, it reminds you as to why you signed up and I encourage a lot of our officers to get more involved in these kinds of events because it reinforces that need reach out and to do the job for the right reasons." 

Community members can donate to the Operation T.O.Y.S fund throughout the year.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA -- The mayor of Columbia's task force on Climate Action and Adaptation planning could recommend an increase in renewable... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, September 19 2018 Sep 19, 2018 Wednesday, September 19, 2018 2:24:00 AM CDT September 19, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Jeff Jones is living just a quarter of a mile away from a future Controlled Animal Feeding... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 8:26:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Assistant City Counselor Jose Caldera announced the city and Bird are talking about short-term rules regulating the rental... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:25:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Task Force One continues rescuing people, checking on others and sheltering those in need in the wake... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 6:48:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - After volunteering at a detention center for women and children seeking asylum in the U.S., one Jefferson City... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 5:20:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A teenager pleaded guilty Monday in connection with a deadly 2016 shooting on Claudell Lane. Navarro Scott,... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:35:11 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
SUNRISE BEACH - Fire Chief Dennis Reilly announced his resignation due to harassment from a board member. Reilly said... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:23:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - City employees are getting a raise in this year's budget, but some say it's not enough for line... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:13:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A lawn care app launched in Columbia to connect consumers with people who want to make extra money... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 2:16:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department is set to receive nine brand new police vehicles in the next... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 1:56:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
MACON - Deputies are investigating after a member of the Missouri National Guard was shot at a training site near... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 1:40:00 PM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
(CNN Money) -- Facebook's ad targeting system is being used by some employers to unlawfully discriminate based on gender, a... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 11:06:05 AM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
NEOSHO (AP) — A southwest Missouri man has pleaded guilty to shooting at a sheriff's deputy during a chase. ... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 10:41:00 AM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A woman has been arrested on suspicion of abuse or neglect of a 4-year-old child. Police arrested... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 10:11:00 AM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A more than 25-year-old park shelter and playground could say goodbye soon. The replacement of those two... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, September 18 2018 Sep 18, 2018 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:52:00 AM CDT September 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Council approved the 2019 fiscal year budget Monday for $32,807,390.05. Mayor Carrie Tergin... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 17 2018 Sep 17, 2018 Monday, September 17, 2018 10:13:00 PM CDT September 17, 2018 in News
FULTON - The Fulton Police Department arrested five people Monday for stealing from a Hibbett Sports store in Fulton. ... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 17 2018 Sep 17, 2018 Monday, September 17, 2018 9:49:00 PM CDT September 17, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the declassification of various documents and text messages related to the Russia... More >>
1 day ago Monday, September 17 2018 Sep 17, 2018 Monday, September 17, 2018 5:46:00 PM CDT September 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 72°
4am 73°
5am 73°
6am 72°
7am 72°