Archive for Friday, December 16, 2011

Law enforcement officers receive gift of smiles from young shoppers

Kansas Highway Patrol Master Trooper Dennis Shoemaker completes a shopping trip with Aerianna Pool, 3, and Jacob Clark, 2 1/2 on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 at Wal-Mart, 550 Congressional Drive. Area law enforcement officers, including the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, Lawrence Police and KU Office of Public Safety, participated in a breakfast at McDonald's and a Christmas shopping trip with 40 children who attend Ballard Community Services' early education programs. The shopping was funded by Hallmark Cards.

Kansas Highway Patrol Master Trooper Dennis Shoemaker completes a shopping trip with Aerianna Pool, 3, and Jacob Clark, 2 1/2 on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 at Wal-Mart, 550 Congressional Drive. Area law enforcement officers, including the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, Lawrence Police and KU Office of Public Safety, participated in a breakfast at McDonald's and a Christmas shopping trip with 40 children who attend Ballard Community Services' early education programs. The shopping was funded by Hallmark Cards.

December 16, 2011

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T.O.Y.S shopping

Area law enforcement officers go on a Christmas shopping trip with 40 children from Ballard Community Services Early Education programs. Enlarge video

Kansas Highway Patrol state trooper Casey Simoneau, left, says goodbye to a young girl he helped shop for Christmas gifts Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 at Wal-Mart, 550 Congressional Drive in Lawrence. Area law enforcement officers including Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, the Lawrence Police Department and KU Office of Public Safety, participated in a breakfast at McDonald's and shopping with 40 children who attend Ballard Community Services' early dducation programs. The shopping was funded by Hallmark Cards.

Kansas Highway Patrol state trooper Casey Simoneau, left, says goodbye to a young girl he helped shop for Christmas gifts Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 at Wal-Mart, 550 Congressional Drive in Lawrence. Area law enforcement officers including Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, the Lawrence Police Department and KU Office of Public Safety, participated in a breakfast at McDonald's and shopping with 40 children who attend Ballard Community Services' early dducation programs. The shopping was funded by Hallmark Cards.

Aerianna Pool couldn’t possibly know that by picking out an umbrella doll stroller, a Doll & Diaper Playset and a Dora the Explorer Glitter Sticker Book, she’d actually be giving her steadfast helper the biggest gift of all: a reason to smile.

Aerianna, 3, guided Master Trooper Dennis Shoemaker of the Kansas Highway Patrol — uniform on, semiautomatic pistol at his side and crisp trooper hat in their cart — through the toy aisles at Walmart, as area law enforcement officers helped participants in the Ballard Community Center’s early-education programs shop for the holidays.

And while the kids picked up toys, clothes and jewelry they and their families otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford, it was the assembled officers, deputies and troopers who would be taking home something less tangible but perhaps even more precious: A welcome distraction from the hazards of their duty.

“How mixed up the world is? They will know that as an adult,” said Shoemaker, who patrols Douglas and Franklin counties in what is now his 22nd year in law enforcement and 12th with the patrol. “They don’t know that as kids. They smile. They laugh. They have a care-free attitude.

“They put a smile on your face,” Shoemaker said. “Can’t beat it.”

Ballard Community Services organized the event, called Take our Youth Shopping (TOYS), to help the 3- to 5-year-olds in its programs for low-income families. But organizers know the benefits for law-enforcement personnel, too.

Last week, a police officer was killed in the line of duty, and on Thursday a state trooper suffered serious injuries responding to a robbery call. The dangers, risks and sacrifices of duty are real, said Dianne Ensminger, Ballard’s CEO.

Allowing personnel from the Kansas Highway Patrol, Lawrence Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Kansas University police to relax, help out and interact with kids in a positive environment couldn’t have come at a better time, she said.

“My hope is that it reminds them of why they became officers in the first place,” Ensminger said.

The morning began with complimentary breakfasts at McDonald’s and finished after the kids had exhausted the $50 gift cards donated by Hallmark Cards’ Lawrence production center.

As they climbed back onto their school buses, many of the kids themselves sported shiny stickers and plastic badges designating them as junior deputies, junior police officers or junior troopers. They would leave with a new, positive experience with law enforcement, something new to kids whose older brothers, parents and other families members may be in jail.

Shoemaker, walking back to his car, certainly appreciated the welcome break from the events of the past few days and the chance to make a difference,

“It’s awesome,” Shoemaker said. “I would do this every day if I could.”

Comments

slow2spk 3 years, 3 months ago

"They would leave with a new, positive experience with law enforcement, something new to kids whose older brothers, parents and other families members may be in jail"....geez LJW must you take the fun out of everything?...This is an "assumption"... didn't need to be said!

mfagan 3 years, 3 months ago

Not an assumption. I followed around a kid today whose parent is in prison. - Mark Fagan, Schools reporter

lily 3 years, 3 months ago

I wouldn't care if they were. Just my personal opinion. The good far outweighs any other issue. Can you imagine what it must have felt like for some of those kids to walk around a store with a law enforcement officer and shop? Full uniform and all.

lily 3 years, 3 months ago

I wouldn't care if they were. Just my personal opinion. The good far outweighs any other issue. Can you imagine what it must have felt like for some of those kids to walk around a store with a law enforcement officer and shop? Full uniform and all.

mfagan 3 years, 3 months ago

Most of the officers were doing this while off-duty. Some officers are community resource officers, etc., so this was part of their work. - Mark Fagan, Schools reporter

jimroberts 3 years, 3 months ago

You are one narcissistic individual... These officers, either on or off-duty, were providing a very thoughtful service to children of our community who may otherwise, due to circumstances beyond their control, would not have enjoyed such a nice Christmas. Kudos to our Law Enforcement community!!

slow2spk 3 years, 3 months ago

There are plenty of children in Lawrence who have family members in jail...duh! They are not all Low-income....I just don't see the point of LJW mentioning this or even you confirming that you "followed a kid who's parent is in prison"...

slow2spk 3 years, 3 months ago

I am not a "freakin whiner" nor an "arm chair journalist" so I dismiss your name calling(UNIKU).... congrats to "Law Enforcement" for reaching out to those in this program, on the clock or not!... as for LJW....some things just don't need to be said.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 3 months ago

Jeez, this paper is FULL of stories about average-Joes. Being a nobody shouldn't be a litmus test for little true stories to put out for readers.

Kari Wempe 3 years, 3 months ago

Law Enforcement Officers are normal people...you are right, nccooper. They all know it. However, they are the ones who put themselves in harm’s way every day on the job, with very little thanks and lots of guff. Some of the positive results of a shopping trip like this are to establish a good rapport with law enforcement as they are, despite any socioeconomic level, seen as the bad guys. So, if you don't give the officers a break..

Kari Wempe 3 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, So if you don't mind, give the officers a break. sounds good a second time too... :)

Bob Forer 3 years, 3 months ago

Sorry Bonus, but they are normal people even when they are wearing the badge. Its only jacka$$es like you who view on-duty cops as abnormal. Wait til you need one, and you'll find out they are just like you and me, and sometimes better.

sentinel4820 3 years, 3 months ago

I see that you don't have a problem with the "normal" KU basketball players shopping with needy children... I sure don't see the problem acknowledging the good work our Law Enforcement officers do in our community. Law Enforcement is much bigger than just going out and arresting criminals..it's also about building community relationships.

Mamawsgirls 3 years, 3 months ago

I have three grand daughters who go to Ballard,the little girl with the pink jacket is one of them, she and her older sister got to participate and I am honored that these law enforcement officers took the time to brighten these childrens day with breakfast at McDonald's and shopping. Thank you to Hallmark, the Ballard Center and Law Enforcement and LJ World for a wonderful story. Merry Christmas and God Bless

Erin Graham 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh LJWorld forum posters...

I hope any officer reading this article knows how much they are appreciated in the community, on-duty and off. Fagan, thank you for writing this. It's nice to see good things happening around town. Too often, news agencies focus on 'shock stories'.. and too often those stories are pretty negative. LJW is one of the few that steers away from that cheap style of reporting most of the time. Thank you.

There are people on here that could take an article about kittens and ponies and rainbows and find something to gripe about.

classclown 3 years, 3 months ago

Would have helped to use a picture where a "young shopper" was actually smiling considering the headline.

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