It was a heartwarming Saturday morning for 70 Valley kids as they got the chance to shop for Christmas gifts at the Tempe Police Department’s "Shop with your Cops" event.
All the gifts were paid for through the generosity of a list of agencies working together to make a difference this holiday season.
For 9-year old Jakai Cooks and his little brother Jaxon, this is a day they will always remember.
After a special escort by several law enforcement agencies to a Tempe Walmart, they got a warm welcome from cheerleaders and musicians.
Jakai browsed the aisles with Tempe Police Detective Natalie Barela. He got to spend $175 on anything he wants.
"It's our favorite event," Barela said. "We had our partners with ASU PD and the FBI, Mesa air units… we’ve had a number of agencies that partner with us at this amazing event.”
“It warms everybody's hearts," she said.
Barela says it completely changes the kids and all of the adults that take part in it and it’s easy to see why.
"Really get to see a softer side of law enforcement and connect with us and see really the human side and how much we genuinely care for the community," she said.
Detective Barela hopes Jakai comes away from this experience with a new perspective.
"The holidays is really about community and about giving to others," she said.
"Hopefully he looks at us and sees that cops can really have a lot of fun too and that we're silly and that all we really care about it protecting and reducing harm in our city."
"Thank you, Tempe Police," Jakai said.
The "Shop with your Cops" event was made possible by Tempe Police, ASU Police, the FBI, American Airlines and the Tempe Diablos.