Natchez police officers help out with the North Pole Patrol

Published 12:08 am Friday, December 14, 2018


NATCHEZ — The Natchez Walmart was filled with several police officers Thursday afternoon, and some very happy local children accompanied them.

In a program called “Santa Cop,” the Natchez-Adams School District and Adams County Family and Children Services select roughly 30 to 40 children they feel would benefit the most from a shopping spree of sorts during the Christmas season, said Sharlot Chapman, secretary-treasurer of the Natchez Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.

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“We have 12 to 18 kids with a shopper for each child,” Chapman said Thursday afternoon, “and we’ll do it all again on Dec. 22. … This is our 26th year to do ‘Santa Cop.’”

Children were escorted through the store by volunteers and officers of the Natchez Police Department, and were able to pick out the things they both wanted and needed for Christmas within a suggested budget of $175 per child, Natchez Police Capt. Tom McGehee said.

“Your limit is $175, but if you bruise that you’re still good,” McGehee said. “In previous years it was $150, but we found out how many apples (dollars) we had and we’re taking the opportunity to make applesauce.”

The program is funded in part by the Fraternal Order of Police dues and through the generosity of locals who have made donations to the program, McGehee said.

“Make sure he has all of the clothes he needs,” McGehee said as he instructed the shoppers. “Make sure he has a large warm jacket, good new shoes, something to wash his hair with, something to brush his teeth with, all of the stuff he needs and a uniform to grow into.”

After the essentials were covered, the kids were able to pick out something to play with, too.

Rodney Washington, 8, picked out his favorite pair of shoes, a hat and some clothes for himself, but also found a pair of shoes for his baby sister and a pair of socks for his cousin.

“My baby sister could wear these,” Washington said, holding up a tiny pair of shoes. “She’s three.”

Rundraneeka Banks, 10, picked a sparkly panda shaped backpack with the assistance of officer Lillie Irving. She also picked out a scarf, hat and glove set so she’d be prepared in case it snows this Christmas, Banks said.

“I love snow,” she said.

MeGehee said though the “Santa Cop” program is fully funded this year, donations for the program can still be made by sending checks payable to the Fraternal Order of Police and mailing them to 233 D’Evereux Drive, Natchez, MS 39120.