Nearly every officer at the MPD puts in to participate for this one day every year they have a chance to put smiles on dozens of children’s faces, including Sergeant Tracy Fails, who couldn’t contain his happiness upon arriving at the Mesquite Wal-Mart Tuesday. Photo by Stephanie Clark.

“This is absolutely the best community ever,” said Mesquite Police Chief Troy Tanner.

It has been said time and time again that the size of Mesquite’s heart is bigger than what meets the eye. That fact was proven once again for this year’s Shop with a Cop program at Mesquite Police Department on Tuesday.

Sergeant Rob Stepp showed up in full holiday cheer and eagerly helped his ward pick out just the right items for this year’s Shop with a Cop on Tuesday. Photo by Stephanie Clark.

According to Tanner, the department raised between $11,000 and $13,000 for this year’s 60 children who went shopping, another $550 in gift cards for Hughes Middle School students and $1,500 in gift cards at Virgin Valley High School plus $800 in cards to each of the elementary schools.

Those who had siblings were allocated a few extra dollars to buy presents for them, so that no one in the family would be left out. As per MPD tradition, several families who didn’t participate in the Shop with a Cop Program were gifted up to $400 to make this Christmas more special.

But the heart doesn’t stop with the community or the caring kids shopping for others.

“We might go over budget,” Sergeant John Woods said to his ward, “but that’s

Officers and personnel from several law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security who brought nine, pitched in to cover 60 small shoppers pick out the right gifts to go under their Christmas tree this year. Photo by Stephanie Clark.

Sergeant John Woods had to hold his ward back from going over budget at times, but it didn’t stop them from having fun in the crowded Wal-Mart isles Tuesday for the annual Shop with a Cop program in Mesquite. Photo by Stephanie Clark.

okay, I’ve got it covered.” Several officers were more than happy to pitch in to make sure that each child had what they wanted and needed.

Most shopped for toys, some made sure they were prepared for the cold winter days and some wanted a good movie or game to enjoy during the upcoming winter break.

“We are so proud to be a part of this year after year,” said Stephanie Buckley, General Manager of the Mesquite Wal-Mart. Her crew was prepared this year, as they had a little goodie bag filled with candy ready for each kid that came through the door.

But the fun didn’t stop there.

As per tradition, once everyone was done shopping and checking out from the store, they headed over for some hotdogs and chips at the Mesquite Elks Lodge #2811 where they were not only greeted by Elroy the Elk, but Santa and Mrs. Claus were there, too.

“It warms my heart to see these children with smiles on their faces,” Santa told the MLN. “It makes this busy time that much more important at my workshop!”

“We couldn’t have done this year without Sergeant Jordan Bundy,” said Tanner. “He’s done real well and we look forward to seeing what he can do with the program.”

Officer Chris Rowley and his lucky ward couldn’t figure out just what to get, which is a problem many of the kids have when shopping the huge isles full of choices at Wal-Mart. Photo by Stephanie Clark.

After a fun hour of shopping, participants with the Shop with a Cop Program regrouped at the Mesquite Elks Lodge where they were greeted by Elroy the Elk and the Claus’ while enjoying a good lunch. Photo by Lou Martin.

The MPD will be taking donations for the program through Dec. 21, although donors tend to donate throughout the year. For more information, contact the Mesquite Police Department during normal business hours.

City Manager Andy Barton was the only representative from City Hall that joined the MPD with the Shop with a Cop, as he has for the past few years since arriving in Mesquite. Photo by Stephanie Clark.