Bixby, south Tulsa kids 'Shop With a Cop'
BY KENDRICK MARSHALL World Staff Writer
Monday, December 03, 2012
12/03/12 at 5:24 AM
BIXBY - Veteran Bixby police officer Sgt. Blake Annis admits he doesn't know much about buying makeup.
But for 18-year-old Marci Russell, he was willing to patiently browse through the various brands until she found the item that suited her.
It was all part of the job Sunday for law enforcement officials representing the Bixby Police Department and the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, who helped treat 40 area underprivileged children to a Christmas shopping spree at Walmart during the annual "Shop With a Cop" event.
"It is nice to be able to see the excitement on the kids' faces while they shop," Annis said after browsing through the aisle with the children, helping them select everything from toys to clothes.
With the assistance of the Bixby Rotary Club, law enforcement officials were able to play the role of Santa this year for an estimated 120 children and their families, said Natalie Kemmerly, Bixby Outreach Center executive director.
The children were selected via recommendations through their schools and local charitable organizations of the Bixby and south Tulsa communities, officials said.
The organization was able raise $20,000 for the initiative through the annual Bixby BBQ 'n Blues Festival held each summer, Kemmerly said.
Participants like 14-year-old Jose Martinez had the opportunity to select gifts for their siblings, and he later would be surprised with a special gift of his own due to the many generous donations.
"I like music, action games and action movies," he said, standing next to his mother, Susanna Martinez. "It is great that (the police) would do this for us."
"We are grateful," Susanna Martinez said.
Tulsa County Sheriff's deputy Bob Darby said "Shop With a Cop" allows children and their families to see them from a perspective that does not involve arrests or attempting to settle volatile domestic situations at their homes.
"We have a chance to talk to the children in a friendly setting," Darby said. "Normally when they see us something bad has happened or someone is dealing with a life struggle.
"This allows us to visit with them and show them who we are."
Original Print Headline: Bixby, south Tulsa youth get to 'Shop With a Cop'
Kendrick Marshall 918-581-8386
Bixby Police Sgt. Blake Annis shops with Marci Russell, 18, of Bixby during the "Shop With a Cop" program at Walmart in Bixby on Sunday. JOEY JOHNSON / for the Tulsa World