COVINGTON, Ga. - It was the annual Shop with a Cop in Covington Thursday night where the men and women in blue shelled out some of their own green to help children find just the right toys.
It was a full circle for Covington Police Officer Travis Pierce who's part of the Shop with a Cop effort at the local Walmart.
“My dad passed away in the line of duty when I was six years old, about 19 years ago,” said Officer Travis Pierce.
Officer Pierce’s father was a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent and after his death some of the veteran police officers helping this night helped his family with Christmas toys at their difficult time.
“I remember going to the house and seeing him and his other siblings there at the house, small children and we just thought can we provide Christmas,” said Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton.
Since then Shop with a Cop has become an annual event sponsored by the foundation Police Who Care, started over 30 years ago.
Officer Pierce teamed up with Tristen who loves trains and cars and like the other deserving children was allowed to Shop with a Cop for $100 worth of free toys.
“And they're all just so nice and I think it's for a good cause,” said Sherry Heath, the grandmother of Tristen.
“I kind of let them pick out their own Christmas, what they want and to see them walk out of here happy after all they've been through. This will be the fourth time I’ve done this every year since I've been here,” said Officer Pierce.
He said he knew he wanted to be a lawman a few years after losing his dad and getting help from Covington police officers before Shop with a Cop had even started
“I just know that [my dad’s] there somewhere watching me,” said Officer Pierce.
Since the $100 allotted for the free toys was covered by funds from the foundation, Officer Pierce and other officers dug into their pockets to pay the difference.