VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) - Christmas is right around the corner and one police department is hoping to spread some cheer to children in need.
"Law enforcement is not there to hurt you. Period," said Police Chief Brian Childress.
The Valdosta Police Department is gearing up for its annual Shop with a Cop event. With crimes committed by youth being higher than normal this year, VPD is using the event to not only communicate with the younger generation, but to help change the perception of law enforcement.
The Valdosta Police Department is continuing to its efforts to increase the relationship between community members and law enforcement. With upcoming events like Shop with a Cop and "Police Santa," VPD is hoping that this will be an icebreaker for youth interacting with cops for the first time.
"This is a good way for our police to interact in a positive way with our kids, so they can hopefully remember, that 'Hey, these officers are just like firefighters, they're here to help you,'" said Chief Childress.
Police Chief Brian Childress says that more times than not, cops get a bad rep due to the nature of their jobs.
"The negative connotation with police is that sometime with have to arrest people, sometimes we have to write people tickets and of course all of the stuff going on around the country, the climate has not been the best for law enforcement," said Chief Childress.
Chief Childress says that he believes there's a disconnect between the community and law enforcement and that its going to take both sides to make things better.
"It needs to start with the police, like these programs, but I also believe that there needs to be a two way street, its going to have to be some hard work and dialogue to bring those two entities together," said Chief Childress.