Law enforcement officers from local, state and federal agencies were at Casper's west-side Walmart on Saturday to shop for holiday gifts with children as part of the 'Shop With a Cop' program.

"We identify those families in Natrona County who are in need of just a little extra help during Christmas," Casper Police Sgt. Scott Jones said Friday. "We take those children from those families and they get an opportunity to shop for themselves as well as other family members for Christmas."

"It's a good opportunity for us to get to know some of the families and some of the kids, and get out here in the community, which we don't always get to do," Sgt. Mike Ogden added.

Some 250 children will participate locally this year. They each receive a gift card and get to do their holiday shopping with a little help from law enforcement.

"It also gives us a chance to have some interaction with kids that don't always see law enforcement officers in a positive light," Mills Police Cpl. Bryan McLimore said. "A lot of times when they see us, somebody in the family's going to jail or having issues at the house. So we tend to be kind of the negative people in their lives sometimes."

"It allows these families to see cops in maybe a different light than they might otherwise see us," Jones said. "There's a perception out there that we're standoffish and we're only there to throw people in jail."

"This is a chance to set the record straight and show them that no, we're part of the community, we're part of a family, and it's important to us to get that opportunity," Jones concluded.

Shop With a Cop continues Sunday morning at the east-side Walmart.

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