Grand Rapids kids ‘Shop with a Hero’ for holidays

Grand Rapids Police Department, Shop with a Hero, Knapp's Corner Meijer
Grand Rapids police and local children at an annual Shop with a Hero event at the Knapp's Corner Meijer. (Dec. 13, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Some holiday traditions just get better with time.

Just as the hot toys of the holiday season have changed as the years go by, so has the name of program meant to bring police officers and the youngest members of the community together. What used to be called Shop with a Cop these days is known as Shop with a Hero.

Twenty of Grand Rapids’ finest teamed up with students from four elementary schools at the Knapp’s Corner Meijer to shop until they dropped — but not before they picked out presents for their family members.

Grand Rapids Police Department, Shop with a Hero, Knapp's Corner Meijer
Grand Rapids police and local children at an annual Shop with a Hero event at the Knapp’s Corner Meijer. (Dec. 13, 2016)

“We have to make sure we can spread out money out as much as possible,” one police officer explained to a child.

Though the name of the event has changed, its purpose remains timely. For Grand Rapids Police Department Officer J.P. Guerrero, it’s not as much about shopping as it is about what the kids see in the officers.

“I think it’s just good to see a police officer having a good time shopping with them and kind of goofing off with them and having fun,” Guerrero said. “I think they need to see that. They don’t have to think we’re so serious and we’re always taking someone to jail.”