Dispatcher Abbey Porter sits in front of CCTV monitors during her afternoon shift in the Mesa Community College Public Safety office on Oct. 13, 2022. (Photo by Monica D. Spencer)

Mesa Community College assists with annual community program Shop with a Chop

MCCCD will hold the seventh annual Shop with a Cop event to pair children with various law enforcement officers to receive Christmas gifts on Saturday Dec. 10 at 7 a.m. at a Walmart in Mesa near Dobson and the 202 Red Mountain Freeway.

MCC police officers, along with other Maricopa College police officers, will attend Shop with a Cop to supervise children while they shop for gifts, serve food to people who are at the Walmart, and bond with the community.

Jim and Cindy Hill have headed this event for seven years and have made this a Christmas tradition for their families. Jim Hill was a police officer with the Scottsdale Police Department before he retired and decided to create the event.

Jim and Cindy Hill also created the program Arizona Law Enforcement Outreach and Support. AZLEOS is a nonprofit organization that primarily depends on donations to help support the Shop with a Cop event. 

According to Jim Hill, Shop with a Cop or Shop with a Sheepdog is when the military and other agencies are partnered up with kids from underserved areas to give them a Christmas. Each child receives $100 to spend at Walmart for their personal use.

“A lot of these kids buy for their family. Once in their life they play Santa Claus for their family and it’s kind of cool”, said Jim Hill. 

According to Hill, each child is given one hour to shop around Walmart and buy what they want for Christmas. Teens in underserved areas are also given the chance to Shop with a Sheepdog where they spend $150 and are given a two-hour time limit. 

“MCC has been the hub for all the events. We’ve expanded our programs and the MCCPD is the lead”, said Hill.

According to Police Commander Sgt. Jack McClaren, MCC police officers help serve breakfast to the children, assist with check-ins, and take pictures of children with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. 

   According to Jim Hill, Sgt. McClaren and his family have made Shop with a Sheepdog a family tradition. McClaren and his family make it a point to give back during the holiday season.

According to McClaren, each child is given a brand-new stuffed animal after they choose what they want to buy at Walmart. The officers also stay with the children they shop with until their parents arrive after they buy their gifts. 

“We’re showing what good cops have always done to get involved in the community and community college involvement should be the same way,” said Hill.

The Shop with Cop event at the Mesa Walmart will be the third Shop with a Cop event in which MCC and other MCCCD police officers will attend. It will include many different law enforcement officials such as coast guard and the FBI.

Previous events were held on Dec. 3 in Scottsdale and Dec. 4 in Chandler. The last Shop with a Cop event will be held at a Chandler Walmart near the 202 San Tan Freeway and Germann on Dec. 17.

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