Kids, law officers shop, wrap together

Papa S.'s Christmas shopping is done, with gifts wrapped and under the tree; however, he's not about to reveal what's inside the packages and ruin a surprise. The 7-year-old student at Stalker Elementary School in Blackfoot, was one of 50 children who spent Saturday morning with a local law enforcement officer shopping and wrapping gifts for their family members as part of Bingham County's Santa's Helpers Program.
Santa's Helpers, sponsored by the Bingham County Sheriff's Dept. and Blackfoot Police Dept., is a program for children in need to go Christmas shopping with an officer.
Erin Hidalgo, a 911 dispatch officer for Bingham County and coordinator for the program, said, "This helps the officers build a rapport with the kids and lets them know that those of us in uniform are their friends and are here to help them."
In addition to the 50 children chosen to shop with an officer, the departments deliver Christmas gifts to 50 families in need on Christmas Eve.
Papa, whose shopping partner was Blackfoot Patrol Officer Travis Mayne, said the best part of his day was riding in the patrol car and turning on the lights and siren, "even though they didn't pull over any bad guys."
Mayne said Papa was a great kid to have as his partner for the morning and that he and all of the officers in involved had a blast being Santa's Helpers this holiday season.