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Season of Wishes: Men in blue help out the good guys

File photo — Patrolman Kenneth Stampley of the Natchez Police Department helps Kerry Johnson, 5, shop for clothes in the Natchez Walmart during the Santa Cop program last year.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a multi-part series highlighting the needs of area non-profit agencies during the holiday season.

NATCHEZ — Local law enforcement will be taking a break from catching the bad guys in a few weeks to take some good girls and boys shopping for their Christmas wish list.

Santa Cop is the annual program sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police that partners local law enforcement officials with needy children for a day of holiday shopping fun.

Natchez Police officers will be picking up a few lucky children Dec. 22 for breakfast at McDonald’s, shopping at Walmart and then lunch at Natchez Regional Medical Center.

Jerry Ford, NPD detective and vice president of the FOP, said the FOP selects children for the program from suggestions from local schools and the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

The children will get to pick out clothes, toys and groceries during their shopping trip.

Ford said the number of children selected for Santa Cop depends on the amount of money law enforcement receives through donations to the program. He said this year’s goal is $6,000.

Santa Cop is an important program for the community, Ford said, because it ensures local needy children have something under their Christmas tree.

“There’s a great need for assistance for children that are less fortunate,” he said.

It is also important, Ford said, that the community knows that the police department is there to help them with more than crime.

“We want them to know that we are there to help them with whatever situation they have,” he said. “We want to put as many smiles on people’s faces as we can.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the Santa Cop program can call NPD at 601-445-5565 or bring donations to the department. Checks should be made payable to the Fraternal Order of Police.

How you can help:

Santa Cop will partner police officers with needy children on Dec. 22 for a breakfast and day of shopping for necessities and toys.

The non-profit, led by the Fraternal Order of Police, needs monetary donations in order to fund the trip. Donations can be dropped off or mailed to the Natchez Police Department at 233 D’Evereux Drive, Natchez, MS 39120. Checks should be made payable to the Fraternal Order of Police.