Law enforcement officers from multiple local agencies helped a number of local youth pick out Christmas presents for other people during Colusa County’s first Shop with a Cop. 

The Dec. 3 shopping day had officers from the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office, Colusa Police Department, Williams Police Department, and Colusa County District Attorney’s office assisting 23 youth doing a little personal shopping at Target. 

The event allowed the kids and their families to see officers as people and interact with them on a personal level, organizers said.

“I really have to thank the local chiefs, the DA, and the sheriff,” said Donna Dennis, program manager for Colusa County Health and Human Services. “They bought into this idea early and they offered their officers the time to come out and participate.”

Shop with a Cop programs are held throughout the county. The first Colusa County Shop with a Cop was a collaborative effort between Colusa County Department of Health and Human Services, Colusa County Community Advocates for Parents and Children, and the law enforcement agencies, Dennis said.

Target was also a great partner, and each child had a $100 target gift card to shop. The group worked with Annie Comer, executive team leader at the Yuba City store. 

“We look forward to holding this event in 2019,” Dennis said. “We hope to continue this annually.”   

Colusa Police Chief Josh Fitch said the Shop with a Cop program helps police officers foster a good relationship with young people and the public, and he was glad for the opportunity for them to participate.  

“The officers went with them as they picked out toys and stuff,” he said. “They enjoyed it and it was a really good event.” 

The 23 children selected to partner with law enforcement to shop for family members or others in need were first through fifth grade students from Colusa County schools.  

Among them was Philip Santillan, whose thought on shopping is to bring happiness at Christmas to other Colusa County children. 

Santillan, a Williams fourth grader, is hosting his second annual Toy Drive to benefit children living in local foster care. He got the idea last year when he participated in the 2017 Scholastic Inc. student contest called “Name the Problem, Create a Solution,” but he, too, plans to continue the tradition annually. 

Santillan’s Toy Drive continues through Friday for those who would like to drop an unwrapped toy at the offices at Williams Elementary, Upper Elementary, or High School. ■