Weed students 'shop with a cop'

Charlie Unkefer
Twelve lucky Weed Elementary students got to ‘shop with a cop’ last Wednesday as part of a Weed Peace Officers’ Association program intended to assist area families.

For a kid in elementary school, riding around in a police squad car is a treat in itself, but when you add the chance to go shopping for $75 worths of gifts it becomes a memorable experience.

For 12 lucky students at Weed Elementary School, this is how they spent part of their school day last Wednesday. 

When officer Josh Burlew showed up in uniform to greet the students, the excitement began to build.  It took less than a minute for a small crowd to gather around him, asking all sorts of questions. “Is that a real gun?” asked one young boy. “Do we get to ride in a police car?” asked another. “I call shotgun!” said a third.  

“It’s been a great year for this program,” said Corporal Jim Cummings of the Weed Police Department, who said ‘Shop with a Cop’ is intended to assist area families during the holiday season.

Cummings said programs such as this help the department develop positive relationships with area youth. 

Organized by the Weed Peace Officers’ Association, the outing was made possible by donations from  Taco Bell, Tri-Counties Bank, the Tile Outlet, Carol Mowat, McDonald’s, Sam and Mary Williams, Scott and Anne Hinchcliff, Edward and Tammy Pecis, the South Siskiyou Republican Women Federation, Dave Pearce, the Weed Fire Department, Chuck Sutton, PremierWest Bank, and the Weed Peace Officers’ Association.

“We were able to add four more students this year for a total of twelve,” said Cummings, who started the program three years ago and said it has been steadily growing.  “We began with five students the year before last... It’s really just a matter of getting the word out.”

Cummings, one of the day’s drivers, explained that the teachers at the school chose a student from each grade. 

Burlew, Tony Aquila and Mary Mazzoni also volunteered their services as drivers. 

“We’re going to start at the Merc and then go to Country Drug and the College of the Siskiyous Bookstore.  After that, we’ll see how it goes,” Cummings told the students.

Cummings said this is just one of the many Weed PD programs that revolve around partnerships with the local community.