Sometimes it is hard to pick out the perfect gift for someone, so officers with the Gaithersburg and Montgomery County police departments will be helping out 12 local youth as a part of their annual Shop with a Cop event from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 13.
Working with the City of Gaithersburg’s Community Services office, the children were selected based on need through referrals from local schools and nonprofits. Lakeforest Mall partners with the departments to donate MasterCard gift cards to the children to spend at the facility.
Mall General Manager Paul DeMarco said they are happy to participate in the event. The first year of the event, he recalled that he thought the kids would go to the Toys R Us store the mall had onsite at the time. “At the end of the evening, when we all gathered to have dinner together, I was so pleasantly surprised to see a lot of these kids, if not all of them, had used the money to buy gifts for their mom or their dad or sister or brother,” he said. “Very few of them bought something for themselves. It was just heartwarming to see that they had done that on their own.”
Gaithersburg Police Department (GPD) Officer Dan Lane said the event helps build relationships between youth and law enforcement. “It gives our officers an opportunity to talk with youth and show that we are just human beings like anybody else,” he said.
During the inaugural event, an officer and a neighbor reconnected. The next event led one of the youth, who saw the officer after the event, to play basketball with him. “Always something positive comes out of it,” Lane said. “It is something we look forward to.”
The same day of the event, the mall will be honored for their participation at the annual Governor’s Crime Prevention Awards. GPD nominated the mall in the community relations category. “We thought, you know what, this would be a great way to say thank you,” Lane said.
DeMarco got the letter letting him know they were selected the first week of December. “It was very nice of the Gaithersburg Police to nominate us for (the award),” he said. “It was very sweet of them.”
Dec. 2, 11:30 p.m.
A residential burglary was reported in the unit block of Argosy Circle. An unknown suspect(s) entered the residence and removed property.
—From Gaithersburg Police Department reports