Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette Tiana Cooper, far right, is all smiles as she is held by Grayson County Sheriff's Deputy Glen Embry and talks to Sheriff Norman Chaffins, second from left, and Sydni Plush during the 2018 Shop with a Cop.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Tiana Cooper, far right, is all smiles as she is held by Grayson County Sheriff's Deputy Glen Embry and talks to Sheriff Norman Chaffins, second from left, and Sydni Plush during the 2018 Shop with a Cop.

The Grayson County Shop with a Cop program continues to grow as, this year, the number of children benefited by the program rose to more than 100 and the amount of money raised topped $15,000.

Grayson County Sheriff Norman Chaffins said the funds raised this year allowed local law enforcement agencies to spend around $15,300 to provide Christmas to 102 underprivileged children and babies last Saturday morning.

In addition, the number of volunteers also increased this year to include about 200 Leitchfield police officers, Grayson County sheriff's deputies, Kentucky state troopers, Grayson County deputy jailers, and their families, all of whom helped shop for the children benefited by the program. Even Santa Claus himself attended to take pictures with the children.

"It was awesome," said Chaffins. "We had a great time."

Despite the program's success, Chaffins has heard criticism that some parents will not buy for their children during the holiday season because they know their children will benefit from Shop with a Cop, and he is also aware that some children who participate in Shop with a Cop will receive gifts from their families during the holidays.

The Grayson County Shop with a Cop program does not require an application or background check in order for children to participate. Police seek recommendations from the school district's family resource centers, as well as community members regarding whom would be best served by the program.

"If people need help, we won't turn them away," he said.

However, law enforcement does strive to make sure the children who benefit from the program are not on multiple lists (i.e, Shop with a Cop, Shop with a Trooper, Shop with a Veteran, Shop with a Firefighter, etc.).

To Chaffins, Shop with a Cop is about more than just buying gifts for children in need. The officers who take part in Shop with a Cop wish to give back to their community and allow children to see a different side of law enforcement, he said.

The children benefited by the program take the experience to heart.

"We have people who participated who have grown up and donate now because they see how much it helps," Chaffins said.

Despite the criticism, the Grayson County Shop with a Cop program has grown each year, and Chaffins cites Grayson County's giving nature as the reason for this.

"We spend a lot of time throughout the year raising to give back," said Chaffins. "Grayson County always steps up. They always have."

Chaffins attributes $8,000 of the money raised to the Grayson County Sheriff's Office and Leitchfield Police Department's lip sync challenge video, as well as the sale of barbeque during this year's Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship.

Another significant contributor this year was Central Kentucky Race Management, which raised a total of $5,000 for the program through The Falls 100 "ultra trail race," held earlier this month in Falls of Rough.

Chaffins also wished to recognize the Clarkson Police Department for covering county calls for service while Shop with a Cop took place Saturday morning and the various businesses who also contributed financially to the event.

Leading up to last year's Shop with a Cop, about $14,900 had been raised to shop for 94 children, which, itself, was an increase of 54 kids from the previous year.