The Garden Island
LIHUE — The sight of the Kauai Police Department Mobile Incident Command vehicle parked at the main entrance to the Big Kmart Friday morning sparked questions in the minds of some shoppers.
“I saw that big thing parked at the entrance and wondered what was going on,” said Shawn Andrade, making a morning visit to the retailer on Nawiliwili Road. “Lt. Trent Shimabukuro of the Kauai Police Department said it was the annual Shop With A Cop.”
More than 50 young shoppers were paired with KPD officers and Police Chief Darryl Perry for a shopping spree following breakfast at Little Caesars and photos with Santa Claus.
Coordinator Rosie Carrillo said children were sent off with a $50 gift card from Kmart and a little gift from the police escorts.
“My first shopper knew exactly what he wanted,” said KPD officer Darla Nonaka, a longtime Shop With A Cop shopper. “My second shopper was a little girl. That was so cute, having her shop with her grandparents.”
KPD Chaplain Kevin Cram worked his shopper, Solomon Kehomalu, to really shop and not just get the first thing that caught his eye.
“This is the one I really like,” the boy said after walking the toy aisles which were brimming with advertised discounts. “I looked at the school bus, some other toys, but I really like this train. It even makes noise.”
Volunteer Gini Kapali said many officers dug into their own pockets.
“There was one officer who matched the $50 on his own,” Kapali said.
“Another put in $30 to help the child get what they needed. Yes, the officers go out of their way to make this a happy time for the children.”
Carrillo said there are designated stations in the store that generate funds for the program.
Tiana Rita, who was escorted by Sgt. Jason Overmyer, was excited about her selections.
“This is not just for me,” the excited young lady said. “I got the pool (inflatable), and this (hair clipper) is for my dad. I even got something for my aunt. Uncle used his card. I so lucky.”