But the men and women of local law enforcement agencies won’t be there to serve and protect.
Instead, they will be there to give.
The 15th annual Cops for Kids program is set for 7 a.m., with Paulding County Sheriff’s Office deputies and detention officers, as well as Dallas and Hiram police officers and state troopers, taking an estimated 200 Paulding County children shopping for Christmas presents.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Cpl. Ashley Henson said the program began in 1998 to help local children who are less fortunate, but also to forge a positive relationship between children and law enforcement.
“We wanted to create a situation where ‘at risk’ children could have positive interaction with a law enforcement officer,” he said.
The children are selected based on certain criteria, and the number of children who participate in the event has grown over the years.
Each child is paired with one law enforcement officer who takes them shopping. Since the children outnumber the officers and deputies, some of those who volunteer will end up taking more than one child through the store to pick out gifts.
“As you can imagine, this is an event that all of our deputies thoroughly enjoy,” Sheriff Gary Gulledge said.
“Our deputies participate in this event on a voluntary basis and are not paid for their attendance. In my opinion, that says it all. Our deputies want to be part of the community and help less fortunate children. This event is such an uplifting experience and allows you to see the true joy of Christmas.”
The program is funded entirely through donations from businesses and county residents.
“We would like to thank everyone that makes this event possible,” Gulledge said. “Without the support of the community, this event would not be possible.”