Wilmington Police Department hosts 29th annual ‘Santa Cop’ event

Wilmington Police Department hosts 29th annual ‘Santa Cop’ event

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Christmas came a little early for 67 students at Wilmington’s 29th annual ‘Santa Cop’ event.

This event, hosted by the Wilmington Police Department, makes sure deserving children have a good Christmas with a $100 Walmart shopping spree.

“They’re referred to us by the schools, typically it’s K-5th grade. They have to suffer some sort of tragic event in their lives such as a death or terminal illness, house fire we see that when it gets colder during the holidays,” said Wilmington Police Officer Cpl. Anthony Merritt.

More than 70 officers volunteered, along with their family members and community members.

Merritt says their goal is to make the children happy, but the officers have a great time, too.

“The kids having a smile on their face or the kids actually having a Christmas this year. And the officers actually getting to be a part of it. We have a young department so for a lot of the officers it’s their first time doing it and the veteran officers, they come back every year,” he said.

Each child is paired with an officer or two to help them with their shopping spree, where they can essentially buy anything in the store.

Most kids stick to the toy aisle.

While some come in with open minds, Merritt said others know exactly what they want.

“The kids know they have a $100 budget. We’ve had some kids actually come with a list. They’ve priced out every single thing they want to the tax. One kid, it was either this year or last year, $99.97 was his grand total,” Merritt said.

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