Sunday, the Johnson City Police Department’s S.W.A.G. - a group of wives and girlfriends and significant others of Johnson City police officers - hosted a fundraiser for the department’s annual Shop with a Cop event.
Shop with a Cop is a program where around Christmas time, local students in need in Johnson City Schools are selected for a day where they are paired up with a Johnson City police officer and are treated to a meal, then get a ride in a limo where they get to shop for Christmas.
“We want to provide a positive experience with law enforcement with the youth,” said Officer Brittney Eberhardt, organizer of the fundraiser. “We want to build that relationship with them young and let them know we’re not the bad guys, we’re not evil, we’re here to help you and were here for you.”
The Jingle Jam fundraiser was held at the Our House restaurant in Johnson City. Those who attended experienced live music, free food and it also featured raffle prizes and auctions for over $3,000 worth of donated items from local businesses like a free pie from Buttermilk Sky every month for a year and tickets to the Bristol races.
All the money raised Sunday will be put toward the Shop with a Cop event later in the year.
Patrolman Bill Hammer has participated in the event the past two years and said he will most likely take part in it again this year. He said he enjoys that aspect of the job that is so different from the day to day routine.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air,” said Hammer. “It’s something totally different than answering calls where people are having a bad day. It’s great to interact with the kids.”
Eberhardt said she does have a goal for how much money they want to raise, just that they will keep accepting donations.
“It would be nice to make as much as possible,” said Eberhardt.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to the program can drop off designated checks or cash to the police department.