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Shop with Cop programs growing across Lake County

Packages for troops

The Gurnee Police Department is doing something new where employees have collected hundreds of needed items to be sent to troops currently serving overseas. Officer Jeremy Gaughan, who is also a 1st sergeant in the Army Reserves, “A” Company, 378th Military Intelligence Battalion based at Fort Sheridan, is organizing the effort. The packages will be received by 11 of his unit’s personnel who are still serving in the Middle East. The care packages will be readied at 11 a.m. Monday.

The department is also planning to partner with Thank Military Families for their sixth annual “Adopt a Family” program. The department’s long-standing “Angel Tree” program will focus on military families in need.

In Vernon Hills, police are doing “Holiday Mail for Heroes” where officers collect holiday cards for servicemen and women in the Middle East with a deadline of Dec. 5. No glitter, monetary donations, letters of articles are allowed. Address cards to “Dear Service Member” and they will be distributed by the Red Cross.

Updated: December 30, 2012 3:41PM

Shop with a Cop is a time honored tradition for many police departments in Lake County.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is holding its first event in Beach Park, although sheriff’s deputies continue to participate in other police departments’ shopping sprees.

Sheriff Mark Curran said the Dec. 11 event starts at 5 p.m. at the North Prairie Junior High School where children will visit with Santa and enjoy pizza, treats and games before going on a $100 shopping trip with a deputy, correctional officer or reserve deputy at the Zion Walmart.

“This program benefits needy children by providing them an opportunity to shop for needed items such as winter coats and Christmas presents,” said Curran.

The children who participate must be Beach Park residents and complete an application process. The application process helps identify financial need and children are picked by the social worker for the Beach Park School District.

The number of children selected will be determined by the total donations received through the program.

“Law enforcement today is so much more than chasing the bad guys” said Curran. “We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to participate in a program that shows the community the human side of the job.”

The Round Lake Beach Police Department has one of the oldest and biggest programs and has volunteer officers from Round Lake, Round Lake Park, Round Lake Heights and the Sheriff’s Office.

“The annual Shop with a Cop event is a wonderful community program,” said Police Chief Gary Bitler. “This unique event helps provide children with positive interactions with our officers.”

The department has raised more than $5,000 from the community and businesses, and hopes to have between 45 and 50 children go shopping at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 3, at the Round Lake Beach Walmart on Route 83. There will be arts and crafts and free hot dogs for the kids as they wait their turn for a run to the store.

Mundelein Police Department has been supporting the program for the last 14 years and officers will be holding their event at 7 a.m. Dec. 15 at Super Target, 3100 W. Route 60, Mundelein.

“This is yet another example of how the police department partnering with the community has been able to make a difference in people’s lives. The holiday events that we are involved in, and especially Shop with a Cop, allows the joy of the season to be seen and felt by everyone involved – just as much by those who give as those who receive,” said Police Chief Raymond Rose.

The Antioch Police Department, along with its sponsors and Antioch FOP Lodge 210, will be hosting their 9th annual Shop with a Cop program at 4 p.m. Dec. 12.

The Antioch Police Department joins with the Antioch School District in identifying needful families with children between the ages of five and twelve years of age. The children along with their parents or legal guardians go to the station for a pizza party, tours of the station, Christmas caroling and presents donated by Antioch Automotive. After a short stop at Raymond Chevrolet for a gift pick-up it’s on to Wal-Mart for shopping. Afterwards there are photographs with Santa and more Christmas treats provided by Walmart.

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