BUTLER TWP — With gift cards in hand, pairs of cops and children hit Walmart's toy department in search of Christmas joy.
On Friday, several police departments paired with the Walmart in Butler Township to give more than 40 Butler Area School District students $100 Christmas shopping trips. Every child wandered through the store with a police officer by their side.
Many Walmart stores in the region hold similar events, but it's new to Butler. In total, 48 officers showed up from several departments. Police forces from Butler Township, the city of Butler, State Police, Penn Township and Veterans Affairs police all participated, as did Drug Enforcement Agency agents and the Butler County sheriff's office.
Butler Sheriff Mike Slupe got the ball rolling in talks with Walmart's staff, then brought on board Butler Township Police Chief John Hays and Butler's assistant superintendent, Brian Slamecka, to help organize. The event grew from there.
“It's a genuine pleasure to watch the faces and reactions of joy as these kids shop,” Slupe said, surrounded by grocery carts, toys, kids and cops.
Read more in Sunday's edition of the Butler Eagle.