Gearing up for a new school year can be costly for families in Southern Maryland when you factor in haircuts, new clothes, and school supplies. Since 2003, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office has participated in the Back to School Shop with a Cop Program. This year’s event took place Saturday, July 29.
Twenty-five students ranging from ages six to twelve were paired with a law enforcement officer from the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office or the Maryland State Police.
Deputies can usually be seen patrolling the neighborhoods and main roads in St. Mary’s County, but on Saturday, they were seen patrolling the school supply aisles.
After they gathered everything they needed to start the school year, the children enjoyed lunch with the law enforcement officers.
“We often only get to interact with members of the community when they’re having a bad day, sometimes the worst day they've ever had,” said Sgt. Cory Ellis. “Shop with a Cop is one of the few events each year that guarantees an opportunity to loosen up and spend time with kids and community members on a day that is fun and positive for everyone.”
The St. Mary's County Shop with a Cop Program is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit program. Its board of directors is comprised of members of the St. Mary's County Optimist Club and the St. Mary's County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7. The Shop with a Cop Program is planned, coordinated and supervised by Lorraine "Bunny" Brewer, Toni and Jimmy Long, Joseph Stanalonis and Bill Raddatz. The program is funded through donations from the community.