Police filled the Target at 36th Street and Highway 100 in St. Louis Park on Tuesday.
But these officers weren’t responding to a crime. They were Hopkins police helping local youth shop for Christmas presents for their families.
The inaugural “Shop with a Cop” brought officers together with 15 at-risk teens, chosen because they are excellent students with good behavior records. Cargill provided $3,000 for the event, while Target provided $500 and 15 to 20 staff members to help.
The students had $100 to spend on their families. The officers helped them navigate the store and check off items on their list. When they were done picking out gifts for their families, the officers surprised them by telling them they had $50 to spend on themselves.
The Target team members and the students wrapped the gifts before heading back to the Police Department for pizza donated by Sarpino’s Pizzeria.
Police found the event rewarding one. Officer Greg Pilon was shopping with a brother and sister named Andrew and Taylor. When it came time for Andrew to spend his $50, he spent $25 on himself and $25 on a friend.
"One of the most rewarding parts of my job is meeting people like Andrew who put others before himself," Pilon told Patch via e-mail. "I am proud and honored to have met Andrew."