Routt County youth get a chance to shop with cops

Teresa Ristow
Lt. Michelle Richardson searches for a stuffed animal with Hayden's Sophia Archuleta, 4, on Sunday at Walmart in Steamboat Springs. Richardson was taking part in the second annual "Shop with a Cop" event, put on by the Routt County Sheriff's Department.
Austin Colbert

— A group of Routt County children were treated to a Christmas-time shopping spree Sunday afternoon, with a little help from the Routt County Sheriff’s Department and local businesses.

The Sheriff’s Department’s second annual Shop with a Cop event brought together 23 local children and paired them up with officers from the Routt County Sheriff’s Department and a couple from the Steamboat Springs Police Department.

A $2,000 donation from Steamboat’s Walmart store and $300 in other donations allowed for every child to get a $100 gift card to spend at the store. Kids were also given a $25 Sports Authority gift card to spend after they were done shopping at Walmart.

Officers tagged along with kids as they shopped, helping them add up the costs of different items and assisting when it came time to check out.

“I participated last year, and to see the kids and their reactions — they’re so grateful,” said Lt. Michelle Richardson with the Routt County Sheriff’s Department.

Richardson was paired up with 4-year-old Sophia Archuleta, of Hayden, who looked through the store with her mother and grandmother.

Sophia spent the first 10 minutes of the shopping trip in the girls accessories section where she picked through jewelry and accessories for herself and some for her older sisters.

“I want this backpack, because I love Hello Kitty,” said Sophia, who was an enthusiastic, eager shopper.

Sophia and Richardson looked through the toy and craft sections before heading to the children’s clothing section where Sophia picked out a new outfit.

“It’s awesome, everyone is loving it,” said Sgt. Ryan Adrian, who got the event up and running last year after hearing about a Shop with a Cop event from a friend who is a police officer in Wisconsin.

“Our goal is to give back to the community in which we serve,” Adrian said.

The families picked to participate were identified by LiftUp of Routt County as regular clients or those who could use a little extra cheer this holiday, according to Angela Mackey, a case manager at LiftUp.

Mackey said LiftUp called families to ask them to participate and many of the parents chose to keep the event secret until Sunday, surprising the children.

“I think it’s amazing,” Mackey said about the event.

Similar Shop with a Cop events take place throughout the country each December, but this is the only event of its kind in Routt County, Adrian said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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