Saturday Dec. 12 marks the first Shop with a Cop event in Billings.
The event will start at 7:30 a.m. at MetraPark, where 30 cop cars will take 30 less fortunate kids from 7 to 12 years old, on a parade-style drive to Walmart on King Avenue West.
“They will get to play with the lights and the sirens all the way to Walmart,” said Deputy George Stull, who created the event, Friday morning .
Stull works with the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office in the jail. He said he launched the Billings version of Shop with a Cop after participating in three Shop with a Cop events at his previous position in Arizona.
“Seeing the joy on these children’s faces is amazing. These children come from homes where financial hardships are there every day. To be able to get money and go shopping for whatever they want to buy, is just amazing,” said Stull.
Stull said that in order to find kids for the event, he went to three different schools on the South Side of Billings to meet with principals and counselors. He was able to select 10 kids from each school to receive a $300 holiday shopping spree.
Multiple agencies in Billings came together to help haul kids from MetraPark to Walmart including the Billings Police Department, Yellowstone County Sheriffs Office, U.S.Marshals Service, Laurel Police Department, MSUB Police and Montana Highway Patrol.
“We got ahold of each agency, and they were more than happy to sign up to do this,” said Stull.
Stull said that with the year everyone has had dealing with COVID, he just wants to bring a little bit of joy and inspiration to a child or a household. He said he also wants to build rapport with the Billings community and change the perception some may have of police.
“Cops aren’t bad. We have hearts. We love doing things for our community. We love children. It just brings happiness to us,” said Stull.
To find more information on the event and where to donate visit the Billings Shop with a Cop Facebook Page.