A long line of Middletown police vehicles stood in front of the Meijer store on Towne Boulevard early Saturday morning, but it was the opposite of an emergency.
Children’s smiles — rather than police-cruisers’ pursuit lights — were flashing, as officers and other police employees took 61 children around the store, mainly to the toy department, to pick out gifts worth up to $100 per child, as part of the department’s Mike Davis Christmas with a Cop program.
Davis was a Middletown school resource officer who participated in the program every year. He died more than one year ago. The program has operated in the city at least 15 years at Meijer, according to police officials, after other doing it first at people’s houses, and then at Kmart.
“We’ve done it at least 15 years at Meijer. They’re great with us,” said Patrolman Dennis Jordan. “We can’t thank them any more. Their service to the community and the police department is second to none.”
“It’s great,” said Janelle Spurlock, whose granddaughter, both parents deceased, was eyeing several toys.
“I think that it’s here for those who don’t have people to get for them,” Spurlock said.
Meanwhile, another young girl nearby showed her mother a blue unicorn she immediately fell in love with.
“You finally got your horse,” her mother said with a smile.
“It’s just giving back to the community,” Jordan added, noting that Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 36 receives donations from such organizations as Meijer ($3,500 this year); the police department’s No Shave November fundraiser ($1,100); the Eagles ($1,000); Lafayette Temple ($1,000); Chuck Demostenes Memorial ($1,000); Crosspointe Church of Christ ($500 in Meijer cards plus 100 stuffed animals); Truth Tabernacle Church ($200); Homemakers Circle 9 ($200); Christ United Methodist Church ($100); Gary Hoff ($100); and Mark’s Towing ($100).
Patrolwoman Rachael Ward and Reserve Officer Nick Peters worked together with a family of three girls: She helping select toys, and he adding up the totals for each.
“I think it’s for a great cause,” Ward said. “I love helping the little kids — just seeing their eyes light up.”
“It’s just wonderful,” Peters agreed. “Let’s be honest: This is a tough time of year. This is my favorite part about being a police officer.”