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Police cooperate for Shop with a Cop program in Antioch, Lake Villa

Updated: April 2, 2011 5:29PM

Two police departments will cover for each other so more officers can participate in the annual Shop with a Cop. Antioch officers will cover for Lake Villa on Dec. 7 and Lake Villa officers will cover for Antioch on Dec. 15.

“This will allow three more of my officers to take kids shopping,” said Lake Villa Chief Ron Roth. His department is planning to shop with 50 kids in two shifts at the Round Lake Beach Wal-Mart.

“I am all for promoting cooperation between departments, especially small departments like ours and Antioch. I thought it was a great idea,” said Roth. “We’re really excited here to shop with our local kids and I know my officers are eager to help Antioch. It’s all for a good cause.”

Global mapping, joint dispatching and a staff of fully trained officers who support the Shop with a Cop program make it easy for the departments to cover each other, said Antioch Police Chief Craig Somerville.

“I would like to see more of it. We have a very good working relationship, especially with Lake Villa because Chief Roth was my supervisor for years in Antioch, so we know each other well.”

Antioch officers and dispatchers will shop with 50 kids in two groups at the Antioch Wal-Mart. Like neighboring Lake Villa, the kids will be provided a pizza party and visit with Santa before shopping with $100 each. Funding for Antioch’s program comes primarily from donations by local businesses, Somerville said.

All of the 5- to 12-year-old kids in the program come from local families with limited resources and were referred by School District 34. “These kids might not otherwise have any money to shop for others, and they might not receive anything themselves if not for this program,” Somerville said.

“Obviously, the kids enjoy it, but so do the officers. It’s a blessing. We see these folks in their daily travels in our jobs but this allows us to be seen in more human terms. They often don’t see us that way. It’s a great bridge with people.”

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