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Updated Nov 26, 2013 - 4:33 pm

Phoenix PD planning 'Shop with Cop' event

PHOENIX -- Dozens of Phoenix police officers are getting ready to help kids shop for gifts this holiday season.

The third annual "Shop with a Cop" will allow selected children in Phoenix to shop with a police officer on Dec. 17 at the Target store near Christown Spectrum Mall. Breakfast will be served and a Santa dressed in blue will be flown on to the store's parking lot by a police helicopter.

Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia said helping children is part of being an officer.

"It's not just about making an arrest out there," he said. "It's about sharing the community needs and the quality of life issues. There's a number of kids that are in need out there who deserve our support. That's what this program's about."

The kids will be nominated at their individual schools, but the officers themselves will make the final decision on which ones will get the shopping trip.

The event is a cooperative effort between the Phoenix Police Department, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association and Target stores.

If you would lke to donate to the program, you can do so by writing P.L.E.A. Charities at 1102 W. Adams Street, Phoenix, Ariz., 85007. The phone number is (602) 246-7869.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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