APOA - Op Ed Ryan Meyer

The Power of The Shop With a Cop Program to Unite A Community With Their Officers

The shop with a cop program is one of the most underrated and sadly not well-publicized programs that many law enforcement departments participate in. Many may wonder what the program entails and why it is such a beneficial program. This program- despite what some progressives may suggest- is not police propaganda, but rather an opportunity to help strengthen community relationships and help to humanize our law enforcement officials. 

Shop with a Cop is a program that allows lower income children to be able to get gifts for their families in the form of basic clothing items and toys. Through this program,police officers are given the opportunity to play Santa Claus to these children.  It also helps to build trust in the community and strengthen the bonds between the department and the people they serve. The officers that participate do so as volunteers and donate their time and resources to support the cause.

Given that 2020 has been a very challenging year, to say the least, for relations between law enforcement and communities throughout the country, this program is more important than ever before. With all of the calls to improve community relations and build trust between officers and the people they serve- this program should be front and center in restoring those bonds.his program should be expanded throughout the entire nation with the intent that this could be the first step towards helping heal our fractured bonds between communities and law enforcement. 

By raising awareness and focus of this program, it allows better relationships to be built between both parties and ideally, helps end the stigmas that are often associated with law enforcement. The men and women of law enforcement care about their communities and by raising awareness of this program, we will be able to take strides in rebuilding and strengthening the bonds between the two sides. 

This does not happen overnight, but this program could be a small step towards a brighter future to help build stronger and safer communities for all. 

Many often want to know what they can do to affect change in society and often solely put their focus on elected leaders in both state and federal offices. The area where one can make the greatest difference though is in their own community. By supporting- or even creating- programs like Shop with a Cop, you are able to have a more direct impact in your community. Citizens can make a  huge impact by reaching out to their local police department to help create or sustain a local  shop with a cop program. Instead of asking what politicians or local officials  can do, each one of us should be asking, “What can I do to improve relationships in my community and law enforcement?” The Shop With a Cop program allows civilians to have a hand in improving community relationships one-step at a time. So please consider donating to your local law enforcement shop with a cop program or help start your own in your community.

With the start of a new year, many new laws and vote initiatives will be launched. This year, many of these initiatives will be geared towards police. Some of these will be helpful towards police and others will be extremely harmful to police. One of these harmful initiatives is currently happening in Washington State called ‘Floyd’s Law Initiative’.

American Police Officers Alliance