On Thursday morning, a group of 23 students from 's Sherman Oaks School and San Jose Unified School District's Horace Mann School came out to the Target store at the Coleman Shopping Center with smiles on their faces and lists in their hands.
It was the fourth annual "Shop With a Cop" event, put on by Target Corporation and the San Jose Police Department in order to help families in need by giving their children a chance to shop for the holidays.
The event is also aimed at forging relationships between young students and the police, brining the two together in a different atmosphere.
For fifth grader Maralyn Cardoza, this was her first time meeting a police officer face to face.
"I used to think they were, like, kind of mean," she says. "But I really liked shopping and he was really kind and nice."
She was there shopping for herself and her two sisters.
This last part is a big reason that San Jose Police Officer Ken Leong participates in this annual event.
"I love the smiles on the kids faces," Leong says. "Not only do they shop for themselves but also for their brothers, sisters and parents."
Bringing police officers and students face to face in this manner will hopefully leave a lasting impression, says San Jose Police Reserve Officer Aubrey Parrott.
"These kids will remember this," Parrott says. "They may not remember the names but next time they see a police officer, hopefully they will wave and not to be afraid of us. We want them to know that if they’re in trouble and need help, we’re there."
Police officers from the San Jose Police Department's reserves, San Jose/Evergreen Community College District and the San Jose State University Police all participated in this year's event. The Oakland Raiderettes, San Francisco 49ers Guy McIntyer and San Jose Earthquakes Chris Wondolowski were all present, signing autographs and taking pictures with the students.