By Kendall Patterson
The local law enforcement does more than protecting the community here in Henderson and Chester County.
For the fourth year, the City of Henderson Police Department along with the Chester County Sheriff’s Department held “Christmas with a Cop” on Monday, Dec. 20 at First United Methodist Church.
The way that they have served local children over the four years has changed some, but the cause has not; to give Chester County children a Merry Christmas.
The program started as “Shop with a Cop” where the officers would take children shopping for their Christmas gifts. Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, the local law enforcement shopped for the children and delivered the gifts to the children’s homes.
This year they redesigned it to “Christmas with a Cop.”
Davidson explained how the kids are nominated through Chester County schools and reached out to in order to participate in Christmas with a Cop.” The parents partner with the departments by providing the departments with a Christmas wish list from each child.
Monday evening started with HPD and the Chester Co. Sheriff’s Department serving pizza to the children and their families. This gave the children the opportunity to see the officers in a different light than they are normally seen in, like patrolling accidents, giving tickets and making arrests.
The officers have fun conversations with the children and get to know them as well.
An example of this is how one of the HPD officers talked to a family about their favorite Pokémon.
The bonding and memories that take place is what Chief Davidson loves about the program.
“By participating in the program, children gain a positive experience with our police officers, officers get to bond with the children and give them a different perspective on the role of the police,” he said. “Since the children involved in the “Christmas with a Cop” program do not always have positive impressions or experiences with police, it allows them to develop fond memories of the officers and helps them develop trust with law enforcement officials. This is definitely one of the highlights of the year for myself and the officers, not to mention the kids.”
Then it was time to get to ride with the police officers and deputies in their cars and sound the sirens around Henderson.
When they returned to the church building, it was time to really see Christmas cheer on the faces of children as they opened presents that the officers got for them. One child even said he was the luckiest person ever after opening one of his gifts.
It just makes you feel good in your heart to see how it makes them feel to open all of the gifts. They were just as tickled about the clothes as they were the toys. It just tears at your heart,” Chester County Sheriff Blair Weaver said.
Adrienne Holley, the Administrative Assistant to Chief Davidson, heads up the program. “Beginning last year, I asked my Administrative Assistant, Ms. Adrienne Holley to take this program, make it hers and run with it. Ms. Holley has well exceeded what was expected of her and with the help of Sheriff Weaver’s wife, Leslie, they put together a huge successful event this year,” Davidson said. “We were able to provide Christmas gifts for close to 40 children.”