Children shop with Lehigh Township police officers
Police officers from the Lehigh Township Police Department picked up five children with their police vehicles and took them to breakfast at Blue Mountain Drive-In and then on to Kmart for a day of Christmas shopping Saturday.
The office administration at Lehigh Elementary School chooses the children who will go shopping based on criteria they set.
As they order breakfast Detective Matt Enstrom asked if any children wanted a game.
"What about games," he asked. He received no response, however.
Chocolate milk was the drink of choice for breakfast.
Police Chief Scott Fogel said Quakertown, his previous employer, began the Shop with a Cop program the year he moved to Lehigh Township. Residents suggested the program and he planned it for the following year. However, it was put together faster than he expected. The program is now in its third year.
Fogel said he has two children and Officer John Henry has three of his own.
"It's just fabulous, a chance to give back to the kids and see some smiles for the holiday," Fogel said.
He said this year was special for two of the children because it provided their first contact with police. They recently moved from foster care in Texas to live with their father, a member of the military, in Lehigh Township.
The two were scheduled to shop with different policemen but they attached themselves to Fogel.
One thing the officers noted is that all of the children the last three years have been well behaved.
First Niagara and Susquehanna banks and the Lehigh Township Police Association are regular sponsors of the program but individuals and smaller businesses also contribute. Kmart contributes by providing the wrapping paper and bows along with personnel to help with the wrapping.
Each child received a Santa hat and a blue snowflake decorated bag of candy.
While most children headed directly for the toy department, Amber Talbot headed for the clothing department. She selected a dress that Anna wore in the movie "Frozen."
Brothers Andrew and Austin Troxel both chose turtle costumes with masks and turtle shells though they were shopping separately.
"It's outside of what people usually think police do," Fogel said of the program.