MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – There are extra police patrols at big box stores during the holiday season, and one Silver Spring Township patrolman is taking his duties very seriously.
Officer Matthew Haflett walks down the aisles of stores like Target and Wegmans in Silver Springs Square.
“They see us here. It kind of keeps people from shoplifting,” Haflett said.
He serves up the law, when necessary.
He also gives out toys just because.
“I see sometimes they’re getting a little impatient,” Haflett said about kids shopping. “They’re running around the store, and maybe mom’s chasing them, and I think maybe they could use a little distraction.”
He asks the kids’ parents if he can offer up a toy car, and the kids’ faces light up as they choose their favorite color.
The holiday cheer spread beyond Silver Spring Township, when a picture of Officer Haflett and 2-year-old Miles Adamire got more than a thousand likes and shares on Facebook.
The officer surprised Miles with a car on Sunday. He hasn’t put it down since.
“It reminds him that police officers are nice and helpful, and if he’s ever in trouble they should be the ones he seeks out,” Miles’ mother, Megan Adamire, said.
Officer Haflett says that’s another reason why he does it.
“Right now, people are getting a bad idea about a lot of police out there,” he said. “These little kids, if you get to them early, they’ll have a better feeling about police when they get older.”
He’s given out a dozen so far.
“It’s worth it. It’s really great, because our job, a lot of time you see kids not in the best situation, so if you can make them smile it feels good,” Haflett said.
And there’s no telling who else will be on Officer Haflett’s list.
He said he will be patrolling Silver Spring Square most days a week, and he got the inspiration to hand out Hot Wheels cars from his 5-year-old son who loves them.