With its new format and staggered times, things were a bit less hectic on night one of the Jones County Shop with a Cop event held at the Anamosa Wal-Mart Dec. 7.

Seven Olin students were paired up with members of the Jones County Sheriff’s Office or Anamosa Police Department and given $100 gift cards to use for gifts for family members.

Among the law enforcement officials in attendance, there were a lot of repeat participants.

“It gives us a chance to relate to the kids that sometimes don’t get to see the softer side of us,” Deputy James Rickels said.

Rickels has participated all four years that the event has been held, saying the best part of the experience is “just seeing the joy on the kids’ face,” noting he always lets them pick out a gift for themselves as well.

“I think it’s just important to get out in the community and have a positive impact on kids,” Deputy Michelle Gehl said, back for her third year. “I think it’s really important this year, especially with everything going on, just to be able to give the kids some Christmas gifts and their families some Christmas gifts.”

The fun was just as easily had by kids participating for the first time. Marvel Petersen, who was paired with Gehl, said her favorite part was being able to pick out gifts for her family.

“She was super-duper nice and fun,” Petersen said of being able to go on a shopping spree with Gehl.

In trying to keep crowds down, each of the four school districts participating, Olin, Anamosa, Midland and Monticello, have their own days for the Shop with a Cop event. Anamosa followed up Olin on Tuesday, Monticello on Wednesday and Midland on Thursday.

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