West Memphis special needs children shop with cops at annual event

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WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Police made Wednesday merry and bright for a group of children in West Memphis.

West Memphis Police hosted their third annual Shop with a Cop event and treated 100 kids who attend Steudlein Learning Center to whatever presents they wanted.

"We chose the center because a lot of the children there have some form of disability. We want to all-inclusive with our citizens," Tawana Bailey with the city of West Memphis said.

The day was important for the kids, but just as much so for the officers.

"The kids light up; officers light up," assistant police chief Robert Langston said. "It’s great for the officers, too. They all love it. They all fight to come do this on this day every year."

Community businesses donate to help pay for the gifts and police say the investment comes back to them and the community.

"Any time we can start developing relationship with kids at a young age, they realize officers are here to help them out when they’re having a tough time," WMPD Assistant Chief Robert Langston said. "To be able to bond with them at this age, we hope whatever impression can lay on them now will carry into adolescence and adulthood."

That lesson is just another gift worth taking home.

The kids took the gifts home, and it’s up to their parents whether they get them now or wait to open them at a later time.

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