Police group provides gifts to youth

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Tyler Carraway, 5, left, holds on to Vidant Company Police Officer William Heath as he checks the size of a new shoe Saturday during the annual Cops and Kids event at Walmart in Rocky Mount.


Staff Writer

Monday, December 11, 2017

Unfortunately, some parents don’t have the means to fulfill their child’s holiday wishes.

This is where the N.C. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 46 along with assistance from the Blue Knights NC XXI, a law-enforcement based motorcycle club, has stepped in throughout the years to assist parents who find themselves unable to provide for their children this holiday season.

Nearly 70 parents and children came out to participate in the “Cops and Kids” program formally known as Shop with a Cop where officers from around the area teamed up with underprivileged children for a shopping spree at Walmart in Rocky Mount on Saturday. 

Tim Braddy, senior patrol officer for the Rocky Mount police, serves as the president of the N.C. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 46 and Blue Knights. Braddy said the shopping day is one of several good things that law enforcement do in the community. The experience also allowed children to see officers in a different light other than cases where police are called to a home in an emergency.

“The purpose of this is to bring the community closer to the police department and law enforcement,” Braddy said. “We want our children to see that everything we do isn’t bad. We also want them to know that no matter where we are in uniform they can walk up and talk to us anytime because there is no reason to be scaredof us.”

Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson said it is important for people to understand how much compassion law enforcement has for people in the community. Brady acknowledged that Cops and Kids was a positive event for the officers as well.

“This is also a great experience for the officers because if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t be here,” Braddy said. Like myself, they’re not getting paid doing this, but they’re here because they want to help out our community. That’s why you do this job because it’s not about money or glory. This is showing we’re out here making a difference.”

Braddy said the children that came out on the shopping trip were identified through the local school systems of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, Edgecombe County Public Schools and referred by representatives that work for the Department of Social Services. Each child was paired with an officer or someone in law enforcement and given a budget to buy items from the money gathered throughout the year through donations and fundraisers for the N.C. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge.

“We try first to get them to pick out essentials they will need such as clothing along with socks and shoes,” Braddy said. “We allow the child to get a couple toys, and they also leave with a gift bag, so they’re able to go home with a lot of stuff.”

Kelly Carraway, a mother, expressed her gratitude towards the program as her children Tyler and Taylor Carraway said they enjoyed their  time shopping with their selected officers.

“I think it’s an awesome experience not just for the children, but for the parents as well,” Carraway said. “It’s great to see people giving to people in need. “It’s an emotional time of year, especially for me of not having the money to buy gifts for my children. I’m so happy that my kids will be able to get some toys or something that wanted.”