It was a special sort of Christmas parade. Santa and Mrs. Claus were there, of course, but most of the cars in the long lineup traversing Placer County one recent morning were police and sheriff vehicles, their emergency lights flashing.
Inside the patrol cars were not just officers, but also children who had been selected by law enforcement agencies to “Shop with a Cop.”
There were 68 needy, deserving Placer County kids in all, including 15 Rocklin students whose holiday shopping sprees were supported by donations through The Bee’s Book of Dreams.
Teamed with Placer County law enforcers, the kids rode by squad car to a local Target store and spent more than an hour roaming the aisles – with $250 to spend.
Sierra Spirlong, 13, was among those selected. A counselor at Spring View Middle School nominated the teen for the holiday adventure, praising her work ethic and positive attitude in the face of adversity.
With help from Rocklin Police Sgt. Eric Dollar and dispatcher Jen Gardner, Sierra found just the right items – a few flannel shirts, some jeans, a pair of boots, a Raiders T-shirt and a curling iron.
Sierra also bought a pair of shoes for her little brother and a gingerbread house kit for the family.
“That’s how she is,” said Sierra’s mother, Sharyn. “She’s just got the best heart. This was such a fun time for her and we’re so thankful she got to experience it.”
Shopping with a cop also got Sierra thinking about her future: She is considering a career in law enforcement.