Wednesday, October 16, 2019

FOP Getting Ready for Cops and Angels

Sallisaw Police Officer Bobby Qualls shops with a participant 
during the 2018 Cops and Angels event.

The 148th Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police is gearing up for its annual Cops and Angels event.

The event is modeled after the national program and it helps children enjoy a better Christmas by “Shopping with a Cop” at the Sallisaw Walmart store.

The date is still tentative, said Sallisaw Police Officer Tucker Martens, who is also the FOP lodge’s president, but organizers are hard at work finding children who will benefit most from the program.

“We find kids in need or maybe their parents work and are still having trouble making ends meet. We try to have 15-20 kids for the event,” Martens said Tuesday. 

Officers will meet the young participants and their parents at the Police Department, where the children will receive a meal. They will then travel to Walmart in a slow-moving “Kid Parade” in which officers let the kids ride in their patrol cars with lights flashing. Officers even let the children turn the sirens off and on.

They then get to go on a shopping spree at Walmart with a local police officer and an allotted amount of money to purchase whatever they want for themselves, Martens said.

Once all the shopping is done, FOP members take a group photo with the children.

Martens, who has been FOP Lodge 148’s president for the past six years, said the event is made possible by fundraising programs throughout the year, such as the FOP’s fireworks stand, a golf tournament and a T-ball tournament. A portion of the money raised at those events is put aside for the Cops and Angels program, Martens said.

But that’s not the only reason the popular program is a success every year, he said. “If it wasn’t for the public we wouldn’t be able to have it.” Officers find out about children in need in various ways, Martens said, whether from the Department of Human Services or school resource officers or other people that let local law enforcement know about children Cops and Kids may be able to help. 

“We try to be like Santa Claus,” Martens said. “We always want to help people, bless them in any way we can.”

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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