Harlingen Police Take Students Shopping for Christmas Gifts

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HARLINGEN – The Harlingen Police Department made Christmas a little brighter this year for dozens of less fortunate students.

It was the second year the police department put together their “Shop with a Cop” event.

Sirens that rang weren’t for an emergency at the Harlingen Target. It was to signal the arrival of a Blue Santa Claus.

Harlingen police officers waited for the start of a different kind of a roll call. Each officer’s name called was assigned a student from a local elementary school.

Harlingen CISD identified 51 children whose families may have a hard time affording Christmas gifts. Every child received a $100 allowance to spend and their own cop to shop with.

Many students seemed shy at first, but the excitement of the officers rubbed off.

The children could buy whatever they wanted.

“I want this one,” one student said as they picked out some Pokémon toys.

The spirit of giving wasn’t lost on the children.

“I want to buy something for my friend too,” one student told the officer.

It was the girl’s first time being inside a Target store. She had to be reminded she should get herself something too.

“Alright, let’s go find a soccer ball,” the officer said.

In the toy aisle, police let loose, letting themselves be children again.

Carts filled up with items that fill the children’s homes with joy this Christmas.

“I got a football because my brother said to buy one of them,” one student said.

Some officers chipped in their own money for the students who went over the $100 budget.

It was a special event for the police force to give back to the community they serve and protect.

The money for the shopping event came from donations from local businesses and fundraisers. Harlingen Police Department has a non-profit “Harlingen Police Education and Community Fund.”

Last year, just over 30 children got to participate in the Shop with a Cop event. The city hopes to include more children next year.


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