Cop hijacks intercom at local Kmart for unexpected announcement

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AMMON — “Attention Kmart shoppers. This is the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. If you would all please come to the front of the store.”

It’s not a message you typically want to hear while shopping, but on Thursday afternoon, dozens of Idaho Falls police officers, Idaho State Police troopers and Bonneville County Sheriff deputies surprised Kmart customers and employees with a special announcement.

“We have an awards presentation for some special people here. This is quite possibly the last and final blue light special here at Kmart,” Bonneville County Sheriff Sgt. Bryan Lovell said over the loud speaker.

As folks inside the store congregated near the front entrance, Lovell announced law enforcement personnel were there to thank employees for supporting the Shop with a Cop program over the last two decades.

Every December since 1993, children in need have spent a few hours on a Saturday morning shopping for clothes and Christmas toys with a police officer. Kmart hosted the event for 24 years, but in November the company announced the Ammon location would be permanently closing. Target will now host the annual event.

“Since this is their last year of being involved, we wanted to recognize and tell them thanks for taking hundreds and hundreds of kids through there every year,” Lovell told EastIdahoNews.com.

Melva Baledge, who recently retired from Kmart after 40 years, and two other employees were recognized with a plaque, pins and coffee mugs from the law enforcement agencies. Deputies walked around the store and gave the remaining employees doughnuts and treats.

“I’m just flabbergasted,” Baledge said after being honored. “It was officers who did most of the work. Some of the kids at the very beginning would be very shy but by the time it was over they were all over the place. It’s been really fun.”

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