Police focus on giving through Shop with a Cop

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published December 19, 2015

 Nicholas Watts, 5, of Macomb Township, picks out a military adventure kit with officer Kevin Treworgy and his grandfather and caregiver, Ralph Otto, during the Shelby Township Shop with a Cop program at Wal-Mart at 23 Mile Road and M-53 Dec. 16.

Nicholas Watts, 5, of Macomb Township, picks out a military adventure kit with officer Kevin Treworgy and his grandfather and caregiver, Ralph Otto, during the Shelby Township Shop with a Cop program at Wal-Mart at 23 Mile Road and M-53 Dec. 16.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — When 6-year-old Cameron Skwier saw more than a dozen uniformed police officers enter a back meeting room at the Wal-Mart at 23 Mile Road and M-53 for the Shelby Township Police Department’s Shop with a Cop program Dec. 16, he said he felt nervous.

However, not too far into his holiday shopping experience, he said he thought the smiling men in blue who helped children pick out Christmas gifts were nice.

Cameron and his brother, Jaden, 11, of Washington Township, attend Duncan Elementary School, and their mother, Erika, said the school’s principal asked if she could submit them for the program.

Officer Joseph Stuglin, the Shop with a Cop program coordinator, said the boys recently lost their father to cancer.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Erika said. “It’s nice. I’m trying to tell them to look not just for yourself, but for others. I think it’s great that (the police do the program). It’s generous and nice, and I never would have expected that we would have gotten picked.”

Jaden was paired with Sgt. Jeff Bollomo, a 13-year veteran of the force, who participated in his first Shop with a Cop program Dec. 16.

“I’ve been trying the last five years, and something has always come up, but I’m here, and I’m really excited that I finally get to do this,” Bollomo said. “(Jaden) is great. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner today. I’m having a blast. I’m so glad I did this.”

The duo bonded over travel baseball, which Jaden plays and Bollomo used to play as a kid. Jaden said he was interested in Pokemon, cars and “Star Wars” toys.

He said he had never seen so many police officers in the same place, and it was different shopping with a cop and visiting the back room of the store.

Neveah O’Neal, 5, and her mother, Debra Fisher, of Shelby Township, came early to scope out the toy aisles, along with her aunt and 9-month-old brother. Fisher said she saw the program advertised on the Police Department’s Facebook page.

“This is my first time. I never heard of it before,” Fisher said. “I’m just happy to get picked.”

Each of the approximately 12 children received a $100 gift card to pick out presents, courtesy of a donation from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 142. Officers’ family members, other staff from the department and local high school students volunteered to wrap the gifts for Christmas.

“We’re trying to help out any kids and needy families in this time from around the township or Utica Community School district,” Stuglin said. “We want them to know we are out there to help them and be role models because, obviously, sometimes their dealings with us leave negative impacts.”

In his experience, Stuglin said, the families are thankful and the kids seem to love being paired with a police officer for a holiday shopping spree.

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