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 Police service aide Fred Robinson shops with Olivia Urben, 8, during Shop with a Cop at the Walmart store on Maple Road in Troy Dec. 9.

Police service aide Fred Robinson shops with Olivia Urben, 8, during Shop with a Cop at the Walmart store on Maple Road in Troy Dec. 9.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes


Kids shop with Troy cops

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published December 18, 2019

 Each child got to buy $100 worth of gifts with Troy police officers and service aides at the Walmart store in Troy during Shop with a Cop Dec. 9.

Each child got to buy $100 worth of gifts with Troy police officers and service aides at the Walmart store in Troy during Shop with a Cop Dec. 9.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

 Police Chief Frank Nastasi waits in the checkout line with Gaige Curtis, 7.

Police Chief Frank Nastasi waits in the checkout line with Gaige Curtis, 7.

Photo by Patricia O'Blenes

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TROY — The 25 kids who shopped with Troy police officers and service aides at the Walmart store on Maple Road Dec. 9 received a $100 gift card to buy whatever they wanted — for themselves or others.

They were careful shoppers, buying some things for themselves, but most items for family members.

Troy Police Department Sgt. Meghan Lehman said the department has obtained names of children from school districts and other community agencies to offer Shop with a Cop for the past 15 years.

Lehman explained that they offer the program to children based on financial need and to those who have experienced a loss or face a medical condition.

Siblings Nick, 12; Olivia, 8; and Ben, 6, Urben all went to shop at the Walmart store Dec. 9.

Their mother, Trish Urben, explained that they lost her husband and the children’s father last year in an accident, and their grandfather this year.

“It makes them happy and very excited to be coming,” she said of Shop with a Cop. “I think they want to shop for everyone. I just want them to get whatever it is they want. It’s sweet. It’s nice they wanted us to participate.”

Gaige Curtis, 7, lives with his grandmother, Tammy Riddle, who adopted him when his mother, her daughter, was unable to care for him because of a drug addiction, which led to prison. Riddle and her partner, David Clay, raise Curtis.

Riddle said she has a good job and she was reluctant to accept the offer to bring her grandson to Shop with a Cop because she didn’t want to take away from a child “who really needs it.”

She said police explained that Shop with a Cop isn’t only based on financial need.

“They got his name from the school. He’s been talking about it all week.”

Volunteers from Citizen Patrol Volunteers, civilians who help Troy police patrol the streets and also help with community events, wrapped the presents for the children.

Citizen Patrol Volunteers member Rebecca Smith works in the lobby of the Troy Police Department and also patrols. She wrapped gifts for the children during the event.

She’s volunteered for the CPV for six years.

“I wanted to learn about the community and help any way I could,” she said.

Police service aide Fred Robinson shopped with Olivia Urben. “I think she nailed it,” he said, referring to coming in under the $100 budget and getting everything on her list.

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