Elementary students Leonso and his brother Frank had a run-in with the law on Dec. 7, and it couldn’t have gone better. They were among 300 children who each picked out $100 worth of Christmas gifts this year at a Target store during the Tucson Police Department’s annual Shop with a Cop event.
The boys’ mother, Marlene, says, “They are both excited. They know we’re having a hard time, and I can’t afford much, so I’m excited too. I really appreciate everything.”
JTED Law and Public Safety student Larissa Villegas, a junior at Mountain View High School, volunteered to help her instructor Officer Dave Schneider with the event (in photo). She says it’s cool to help put a smile on children’s faces. Villegas and 11 of her JTED classmates joined the 150 cops who volunteered to shop with kids early on a chilly Saturday morning.
Tucson Chief of Police, Roberto Villaseñor, says the event is a great way for JTED’s Law and Public Safety students to learn how police officers connect with the community. “We can’t do our job without the community’s help, and this event helps kids who usually see officers in a moment of crisis. “What we’re able to do today changes their perspective about us.”