Being a cop is a tough job at the best of times, and this isn’t the best of times. Nationwide riots, social media rants and political t-shirts of the “I Can’t Breathe” variety continue to flash across our TV screens and social media, all depicting police in a negative light. The men and women who often put their lives on the line in service to their communities are slandered as racist, brutal and out of control.
But with the Christmas season upon us, watch these five videos of police across the nation making a difference and bringing joy to those less fortunate.
1. Pantego, Texas- From mid-November through mid-December the Pantego County Police Department in northern Texas runs its “Cops for Kids Program.” The program serves as a toy drive and aims at collecting as many toys for local children. During this month anyone guilty of a minor traffic violation is given a verbal warning and a flier and asked instead to bring a toy to the police department, which cops will deliver to the local children’s hospital by Christmas. The purpose is to provide sick kids with a smile while also giving residents and minor traffic violators a pass.
2. Omaha, Nebraska- On Tuesday evening, Dec. 2 over 60 cops from local police departments in Omaha participated in the city’s seventh annual “Shop with a Cop” event. Fifty homeless children from Open Door Mission were greeted by Santa, who the police flew in via helicopter to surprise the kids, before pairing up with an officer who led them through the store letting the kids pick out whatever they wanted (focusing mostly on warm clothes, blankets and of course toys). After shopping they all had a pizza dinner. Many of the police force who participated say the “Shop with a Cop” event is the best part of their holiday season.
3. Boynton Beach, Florida- After a toddler accidentally dialed 911 the responding officers noticed the family home had no Christmas tree, lights or festive decorations and learned the family could not afford one this year. The next day the two Boynton Beach officers went to Home Depot and bought a tree, lights, and colorful decorations and delivered it to the financially struggling family. The daughter hugged the tree and officers in her excitement. The officers plan to return closer to Christmas with gifts and toys for the children.
4. Hopkins, Minnesota- On Dec. 10, a family in Hopkins found their home had been broken into and all the presents beneath the tree had been stolen. The mother was almost done shopping for her youngest daughter and grandson and was proud of herself for being nearly done shopping considering she usually waits until the last moment. Disheartened the mother told her kids she’d re-buy what she could but presents would be fewer and might not be the major things they wanted on their lists. The presents lost were worth roughly $600; money she didn’t have to buy everything again. As it turns out she didn’t have to. Hopkins PD returned to the house that evening with armloads and boxes filled with presents. The Sergeant told the mother, “Merry Christmas, we want to make your Christmas much brighter. We feel bad about the tragic situation you had happen so we wanted to use some of our crime fund donation money to replace all of your gifts.” They replaced nearly all $600 worth of gifts.
Last and definitely not least ...
5. Lowell, Michigan- Over two days in November, the Lowell Police Department were really getting into the holiday spirit. The Police chief says that “most of the contact the police officers have with the general public is on a traffic stop and you can find a lot out about that person in that 10 to 15 minute window” and that got them thinking. For two days officers pulled over random people for “faux” minor traffic violations. While taking license and registration the officer made friendly conversation asking if they were done with their shopping, what they still needed to get and for who. At a store nearby a couple other cops listened via police radios and quickly selected, bought and wrapped the listed gifts. Between 10-15 minutes later, the ticketing officer presented the person being “ticketed” with the gift(s). They bought flat-screen TV’s, a laptop, an Xbox 1 a father otherwise would’ve been unable to buy his boys, lego sets, electric scooters etc. The gifts were unwrapped to joyful disbelief, hugs and tears and then were free to go, ticket-free. The police chief said, “Officers pulled over 50 drivers for the video and handed out about 30 presents, totaling about $7,000.” UpTv, a Christian television network recorded the two days of holiday kindness.
These stories and videos are touching, heart-warming and real. And similar stories occur all over the nation, in any season. A huge thanks to the men and women of law enforcement. Merry Christmas!