There was a heavy police presence at St. Vital Centre Wednesday morning, but it was all for a good cause. 

Around 60 Winnipeg police officers and students from the Winnipeg School Division made their way to the mall to participate in the annual Shopping with Cops event, which sees students from across the division spend a couple of hours going on a shopping spree alongside a Winnipeg police officer. 

Each student was given a $200 gift certificate, donated by the mall, to be spent on whatever they wanted, whether it be something special for themselves or a gift for a family member. At the same time, each participant was paired with a Winnipeg police officer who volunteered their time to make the shopping experience a memorable one.

“Shopping With Cops is a fantastic event in partnership with St. Vital that provides us a unique opportunity to meet some wonderful young people and take them shopping for the holiday season,” said Constable Dirk Creighton to the Winnipeg School Division.

One of the participants was determined to check off all the people on their shopping list, including their mom and grandmother.  

“Today was actually really fun. It made my day! My favourite part was going into Game Stop and buying all these gifts,” shared WSD student Donte with the Winnipeg School Division.

Once the students were finished shopping, everyone met in the food court for a pizza party lunch. 

These kids are amazing. It’s so nice to be here with them, build connections and let them know that we’re with them through their journey," said Constable Dirk Creighton.

Students who participate in the event are chosen based on their academic and sports achievements, positive influence on peers and volunteer efforts that help to make a difference in the community. 

Around 60 students and officers participate in the event each year.