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Calgary teens buddy up with police officers at annual ‘Shop with a Cop’ event

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Students from nine different Calgary schools went on a shopping spree at Marlborough Mall on Wednesday as part of the Calgary Police Service's 17th annual Shop with a Cop event.

The students met up with police officers, took pictures with Santa and then started spending.

Community resource officer Const. Tracey Renaud says they reach out to schools, who then pick deserving students.

"The students are chosen because they're excellent community stewards in their schools, in their community, and it's a nice way for us to reward them," she said.

"There might be a couple of officers who have two students, but in general, all nine of our junior highs in this district pick three students – so that gives us 27 – and we tried to get 27 officers to pair up with them."

Each student receives a $200 gift card for the mall, donated by Marlborough Mall and the Calgary Police Youth Foundation, as well as a swag bag filled with goodies provided by Marlborough Mall and retailers.

The goal of the Shop with a Cop program is to foster positive relationships between the CPS and Calgary’s youth.

"I was selected because of our academics, and who we are as people, just we get noticed and we're respectful people," said Joshua Lerat, a Grade 9 student at Ian Bazalgette School.

"We do the decent thing for other humans, we're just decent human beings to each other. That's it."

Lerat checked out several stores, including Anthony Jewellers, but says it’s about the experience of  interacting with officers and other students that he enjoyed the most.  

"I just want to make great memories with other people around here. 

"I want to be able to be remembered by others around here. I just want to make a good memory for other people and a great impression on others."

Solange Uwineza says she was excited to be selected for the experience.

"I was a good student and the teachers' favourite," she said. 

Joshua Lerat and Solange Uwineza shop with Const. Hilary Jennings.Const. Hilary Jennings was paired with Uwineza and Lerat, and the three formed a pretty tight bond. 

"We met actually prior to my name being called, so I was super excited when I saw that," said Jennings. 

"I got to sit with these two and now we're going to go shopping and have a good time."

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