St. Petersburg police officers spent Wednesday morning with Police Athletic League representatives spreading holiday cheer.

  • Shop-with-a-Cop event at St. Pete Target
  • Officers and PAL representatives bought toys and food for needy families
  • Will hand out the gifts in the neighborhoods they patrol

The officers bought toys and food gift cards at a St. Pete Target for needy families in some of the communities they serve. 

The $10,000 funding of the event came from a generous donor who wished to remain anonymous.   

So with Target opening at 6 a.m. just to give officers the run of the store, they set out to buy gifts specifically for people in the neighborhoods they patrol.

"This is for the kids," said Det. Chuck Tatem. "That's what Christmas is all about.

"No child should go with anything on Christmas Day. And if we can help make a child happy, that's what it's all about."

The goal is to help needy families-and- continue to build positive relationships between police officers and the community they serve. 

This is a St. Petersburg community policing program where officers are required to spend one hour a week parking their patrol cars, walking the beat, and talking to residents.

The police department will also provide gifts to children at the CASA, qualifying PAL children, and Guardian Ad Litem foster kids.