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Shop with a Cop returns for its second year

December 28, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

Dysart Police Officer Jeremy Stenda, along with Deputies Travis Foster and Brian Randall from the Tama County Sheriff's Office, spent their Wednesday afternoon taking several Dysart-Geneseo Elementary students out shopping for the second annual Shop with a Cop.

Organized by Stenda last year, Shop with a Cop invites the students to shop with local law enforcement at Wal-Mart in Waterloo thanks to grants from the retailer. According to Stenda, the Dysart Police Department is currently the only agency in Tama County that participates in such a program. Stenda and the deputies split off to help kids find books, gift cards, coloring supplies, and other items. Some bought shoes for their siblings and items for their parents for Christmas.

"We have a great working relationship with the Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Kucera, so we like to put out there it is a team effort," Stenda said. "These kids were very considerate of their family members.

Article Photos

Dysart Police Officer Jeremy Stenda (back, left) along with Brian Randall and Travis Foster from the Tama County Sheriff's Office before taking D-G Elementary kids shopping at Walmart in Waterloo.

The officers and children were helped by Jacob Murphy and Veronica Thompson. Both are juniors at Union High School and reside in Dysart. Jacob's plan is to pursue law enforcement degree at Hawkeye Community College once he graduates next year. Veronica works at LB'S Pizza, where the group enjoyed dinner after shopping courtesy of owners Kirk Weaver and Bickkam Cam.

"I personally gain the self satisfaction of making a difference in someones life when we do these events," Stenda said. "This is why I pursued the law enforcement field. The self satisfaction of bridging the gap between our youth, community, and law enforcement is key to a successful police department and community. It shows the kids we are human and we are just like them, we are no different. It's just a profession/job like everyone else, and it shows them we are compassionate and caring towards them. We want them to run to us when they need help or mentoring, not away from us."

Stenda hopes for this program is to continue it each and every year he's employed for the City of Dysart and would ultimately like to get the other agencies in Tama County to participate.

"Each agency could apply for the Wal-Mart Community grants, or seek donations from their communities to fund this program," Stenda said. Communities are always willing to donate to these programs, so I see this being very attainable. And once ALL agencies would secure grants and or funding, we would have a Tama County Law Enforcement Shop with a Cop program together. Between Dysart, Tama PD, Toledo PD, Sheriff's Office, and Meskwaki PD, it could really be something big. So to shorten it up, the goal would be to have a county wide Tama County Shop with a Cop program with all Tama County law enforcement agencies. I believe the other agencies in Tama County would be more than happy to do this and participate."

Brenda Gardner, DG Elementary Secretary, works in coordinating with parents and staff to select kids for Shop with a Cop, also joining along for the shopping trip.



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