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32 Kids Shop with Cops at Fridley Wal-Mart

Police helped children from four local schools shop for gifts.

Shoppers at the Fridley Tuesday might have noticed Fridley Police Officer Ryan George in the toy aisle with a pair of $3 handcuffs in his cart.

It had nothing to do with the city budget.

George and Reserve Officer Andy Benson spent part of their afternoon with three students from , helping the boys find gifts for family members.

On the sixth annual Shop with a Cop day, people from the Fridley Police Department took 32 children from the city's four public elementaries to Wal-Mart. Besides officers and members of the police reserves, the escorts included  administrative and front-office staff from the department. George and Benson were on duty but George said some also volunteer personal time.

Each student got a $75 gift card courtesy of Wal-Mart and a meal at the Subway restaurant inside the store. And for the second year, Wal-Mart employees also provided free gift wrapping for the gift items the children selected.

Most students come with some kind of a list, according to the Liz Chevalier of the Fridley Police Department. Often they are looking for gifts for siblings, she said. Sometimes they want to buy groceries.

At least one of the trio with George and Benson in the toy aisle had a list. Two were brothers, sharing a cart. As it filled with gifts the police officers checked prices to stay within the boys' $150 allowance.

"We're adding up pretty quick," George said, examining a toy Thor's hammer. 

The officers took their time, letting the kids explore the shelves. "What does this do?" asked one student, holding a toy that had a small screen but no readily apparent purpose. 

For boys in the toy aisle, George observed, "sometimes it's hard to stay on task."

He checked with one of the boys: "This is for mom?"

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