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NEWS BRIEFS Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino helps girls pick out Barbie dolls. Contributed photo HONOR THE BADGE HELPS MORE THAN 80 KIDS SHOP FOR THE HOLIDAYS The Second Annual Honor the Badge event on Dec. 14 saw more than 40 members of the Sarasota Police Department join representatives of the Sarasota Housing Authority and Target to help about 80 children shop for the holidays, the department announced. 

 The event was made possible through donations totaling nearly $10,000 from the Sarasota Police Department, local businesses, religious organizations and individuals, a news release points out. Nearly $2,600 came from members of the Sarasota Police Department, the release adds. The event was held at the north Sarasota Target, located at 5350 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. It kicked off at 6 a.m., when buses filled with youngsters and their loved ones arrived. Police officers "were cheering and clapping to welcome the children and their families to their early morning shopping spree," the release notes. 
The Sarasota Housing Authority's Honor the Badge shopping event is an initiative designed to help build trust and respect between law enforcement officials and children of families living in Sarasota Housing Authority communities, the release explains. "Our goal is to help underprivileged children from our community come together with local law enforcement in an inclusive, non-threatening environment that will encourage open and honest communication with law enforcement officers, to remove any fear the youths may have when interacting with officers," said Capt. Lucius Bonner of the Bureau of Professional Standards in the Police Department in the release.

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