Edmonton police officers worked a different beat Wednesday.

Members volunteered their time to act as personal shoppers for 26 students from St. Matthew, St. Vladimir, Princeton and Beacon Heights schools.

The annual community program, called CopShop, gives a $200 gift card to each participating student to use at the Londonderry Mall for their Christmas shopping.

“A lot of kids come with their lists, and they’re lists to buy for their families. They’re not necessarily looking to buy things for themselves,” said Sergeant Dan Tames.

The students were chosen by school principals and Edmonton Police Service liaison officers according to need, academic performance and other achievements or efforts making a positive impact in the community.

CopShop is meant to help deserving youth and enable them to build positive relationships with EPS.

“Some of the kids, their only experiences with police have been negative, and by no fault of their own, by circumstances within their lives,” Tames said. “It’s good to be able to sit down with them and joke around with them and they get to see us in a different light.”

One student, Joseph Ugw came with a list: books, running shoes, and high tops for his sister.

He said he didn’t know how nice the officers would be until they started chatting.

But in a short while, his career aspirations had already changed: “I'm going to be a soccer player, basketball player, doctor—and police officer.”