It wasn't chaos, it wasn't pandemonium, but it sure was exciting.
Over 300 area children got to shop with a local law enforcement officer Saturday morning as the Fraternal Order of Police offered its annual Shop With a Cop shopping spree to area children in need.
The union of law enforcement officers got the names of the children from area schools and took the children to breakfast before meeting at Walmart at 8 a.m. for the serious business of picking out presents. Children had a budget of about $75.
With the help of a law enforcement officer the children picked out clothing first and toys second. The officer kept a calculator going to make sure everything checked out okay when they got to the register.
The Harrisburg Police Department, the Saline County Sheriff's Department, the Illinois State Police and a number of other law enforcement entities participated.
"We know the economy is down and the miners at Willow Lake who supported us so well in the past are out of work," said Sgt. Michael Riden of Harrisburg PD. "But it is encouraging that we got the support that we did," he said.
The goal was to pick out items of necessity, like clothes and shoes, first. Then came the toys.
Items that the children could not purchase were pellet guns, paint ball guns or Airsoft guns. Nerf guns were allowed.
Video games rated E, and movies rated G, PG or PG-13 were allowed depending on the age of the child.
The kids were not allowed to purchase presents for other people.
No hunting equipment was allowed and no knives.