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NLPD makes Christmas brighter

Officers and community band together for annual Shop with a Cop event
NLPD Officer Chuck Tygart goes over Itzamar’s list of Christmas gift ideas for her family on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the Target store in the Coral Ridge Mall. Itzamar was one of seven North Liberty kids who participated in the North Liberty Police Department’s Shop with a Cop program. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

CORALVILLE– There was a heavy police presence at the Target Store in the Coral Ridge Mall Tuesday, Dec. 12, however no crime had been committed and no threat mitigated.
Instead peace, goodwill and the spirit of helping thy fellow man reigned as officers and staff of the North Liberty Police Department (NLPD) conducted their third annual Shop with a Cop event.
Seven North Liberty kids were paired up with an officer, who helped them select Christmas presents for their family members. The kids were also able to pick out something for themselves and unbeknownst to them, would receive a “surprise” in the form of a second gift. Chief Diane Venenga explained the officers would observe as the kids shopped for themselves, and if they appeared to really want one thing, but put something else (usually cheaper) in the cart, the officers would snap a picture of it. After the kids had gone off to wrap their gifts and eat pizza, the other items were purchased, wrapped separately, and slipped into the kids’ bags.
Donations from area businesses, community members and the officers themselves paid for the presents, the Chief explained. She gave a special shout-out to Marco’s Pizza for the wrapping party pizza and pop, Target for a $50 gift card, $380 from the officers, $40 from Mary Ann Sheets, $50 from the Palo Mini-MART, $50 from Andy and Jessica Grieder and $90 from Midwest Sleep-Beds. In addition, anonymous donors chipped in $300. “Any donation that came to the department, not labeled for the (new) canine, goes toward this program,” Venenga said. Donations are welcome at any time, she added, and the department will gladly provide a receipt. Venenga also expressed her gratitude to Santa Claus’ North Liberty Agent-Santa Kevin, for donating his time to participate in the event.
The NLPD hopes to be able to assist more kids and their families each year. Applications are accepted with selections based on need.