Written by Chad Billeb
On Sunday, December 2, 2018, employees from across all five divisions of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office participated in the 1st annual Shop with a Cop event at Walmart in Rib Mountain. Shop with a Cop is a nationwide initiative that pairs law enforcement officers with area children in need. Together, the deputy/officer and child shop and select a special toy or gift for the child and then shop for basic necessities for the family.
Bringing the Shop with a Cop program to Marathon County was the idea of Corrections Officer Melissa Myszka. Melissa came to Marathon County after having worked for the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office, where she had participated in Shop with a Cop in previous years.
One of the goals of the program is to help police build trust with children in our community. In a recent interview with the Wausau Daily Herald, Melissa said:
“I think sometimes the perception of what an officer is and what we’re about isn’t exactly what we want society to have. They get to see the human behind the badge, which is really important.”
This year, 50 children from across Marathon County participated in the event. Children were selected through referrals from Marathon County Social Services and School Resource Officers. On the day of the event, the children spent the first few minutes being introduced to their deputy/officer partner, and then they were off to shop.
After shopping, the children spent a bit of time with Santa and then enjoyed a meal with their law enforcement officer.
As the children left Walmart, they were given two more gifts . . . One from Santa and another gift, which was a board game or activity for them to do with their family over the holidays. They also received a prepackaged meal and recipe to be prepared as a family.
Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies (state, county, and municipal) participated in the event.
The Shop with a Cop event was made possible through very generous donations from a number of individuals, local businesses, foundations, and law enforcement benevolent organizations.
Due to the success of the event, the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office plans to hold Shop with a Cop next year, with the goal of reaching even more children and families than they did in 2018.
To help continue this effort, a fund has been set up at the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. Anyone wishing to help can make a donation by visiting www.cfoncw.org and selecting the Shop with a Cop program.
An event of this size only happens through the efforts of a strong team.
The Marathon County Sheriff’s Office is extremely proud of the work of the Shop with a Cop team, who helped bring a little extra JOY to these children and their families during the Christmas holiday season.
Chief Deputy | Marathon County Sheriff’s Office
With over 25 years in law enforcement, Chad Billeb currently serves as the Chief Deputy at the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office. Early in his career, Chad worked as a police officer at the Rib Lake, Medford, and Colby-Abbotsford Police Departments, as well as a Corrections Officer at the Price County Sheriff’s Office. In late 1999, Chad began his career with the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office. Chad has served as a Patrol Deputy, Narcotics Investigator, Lieutenant (Court Security, Patrol, Administration), and most recently as the Chief Deputy overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office. For over 10 years, Chad was an Adjunct Instructor at Northcentral Technical College teaching Firearms, Tactical Skills, Professional Communications, and other law enforcement-related subjects. Email Chad Billeb.
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