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Snellville PD helps needy kids with Christmas shopping

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Snelliville Police officer Robert Rosado watches as sibblings Yawan Myrick, 9, and Aerial, 11, pick out toys during the annual "Shop With a Cop" event at Wal-Mart on Thursday.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Snelliville Police officer Robert Rosado watches as sibblings Yawan Myrick, 9, and Aerial, 11, pick out toys during the annual "Shop With a Cop" event at Wal-Mart on Thursday.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Snellville Police officer O.J. Concepcion, calculates the total cost of toys picked out by Sasha Bronix, 5, and her sister, Anna, 6, during the "Shop With a Cop" event.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Snellville Police officer Scott Smith shows a dress to Serena Rucker, 7, during Thursday's "Shop With a Cop" event at Wal-Mart.

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Staff Photo: Jason Braverman Snellville Police Sgt. R. Pendleton, right, and communications officer Nocona Brock, left, shop for Christmas toys on Thursday evening with sibbligs Eric Martin, 8, left, Mary, 6, and Caleb, 7, at Wal-Mart for the department's annual "Shop With a Cop" event.

SNELLVILLE -- For 9-year-old Yawan Myrick, Thursday night was "like a dream" -- not only because he got to do some Christmas shopping with his sister, but because a Snellville police officer was along for the ride.

"This is like a dream because this is my first time like, hanging with a police officer," he said while mulling through the toy section at Walmart.

Sister Aerial, 11, quickly added her two cents: "He always gets his toys and pretends he's a police officer, and he always has so much fun."

The siblings represented just one of the 15 families chosen from W.C. Britt Elementary School this year to participate in the Snellville Police Department's annual "Shop with a Cop" event, an evening that matches needy kids with officers, citizens police academy alumni and other city officials.

Thanks to donations from the Walmart Foundation, the kids get to roam the store and buy Christmas gifts for themselves and their family -- with a very special escort.

"What we find is that the police officers and the alumni enjoy it maybe even more than the kids do," police Chief Roy Whitehead said. "But the kids are just wonderful."

The kids pounded the toy section hard, no doubt. Yawan got the Thundercats contraption he was jonesing for, and Aerial got a guitar she plans on teaching herself to play. The Walmart employee working the video game counter was run ragged.

But, as Whitehead said, "some of the kids will go shop for their families instead of themselves," too.

One kid was overheard asking his police partner if he could go find some earrings for his mom. A group of three brothers left the store with a broom, presumably for household chores.

Former Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer also swung by the festivities Thursday.

"Think how cool it is to for a kid to push their shopping cart with a police officer," he said.

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