“We’re just Santa’s elves making the deliveries,” Taylor Police Chief John Blair said.
The “Santa” he was referring to was an anonymous donor who gave $10,000 to the police department to pass out to needy families as they saw fit.
Some of that money went to buying gifts for six families in the community, the rest was split up and given out at random during “spirit of Christmas” stops starting Dec. 20.
The stops, which saw a police officer give $100 or more to people at their discretion started about 10 a.m. Dec. 20 and continued through the rest of the week.
Officers went to different parts of the city, and on different shifts to make sure the Christmas cheer was spread around.
Reactions to the stops were split, while all of the drivers were happy in the end, some had to be convinced they were doing something worth being pulled over for in the first place.
At least one officer received a kiss on the lips, as the woman he had stopped tried to peck him on the cheek and missed and got him in the lips.
Another woman, stopped by Cpl. Matthew Minard, refused the $100 gift, instead asking him to find a more needy family and give it to them instead.
Maria Kokay said her family was in need last year, but was doing well this year and she would feel better knowing someone who might need it more got it.
“I want to be kind-hearted,” she said. “I can always use $100. It’s awesome that you guy’s do this. But I’m sure a family somewhere else can use it more.”
Blair said the event, which has become yearly, brings Christmas cheer to residents. The same anonymous donor has given the department money for three straight years.
“We’re going to be in the neighborhoods looking for people who can use the help,” he said. “Anyone who looks likes they need some holiday cheer.”
The department created a fake citation, saying residents were in violation of Christmas spirit, all so they could push the surprise a little further. Paper clipped to each violation though was a crisp $100 bill, or more depending on the situation.
“It’s great to be able to do this once a year,” Minard, an 18-year veteran of the force, said. “I stop people and give tickets all day. It’s nice to be able to bring them something good once in a while.”