Lubbock police play "Santa Cops" for underprivileged kids

Reported by: Ashley Claster
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Updated: 12/09/2013 7:19 am
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Lubbock Police are working as role models for the kids who need a hero to look up to as part of the 'Santa Cops' program.

"Just to see how we're normal people just like them. We can hang out with them, and just be role models. That way they see us, and maybe want to be like us some day. Or if not, be a good role model for other people," Lubbock Police Officer Mario Sandoval said.

"I had a lot of fun with him, he seems like a friend," 13-year-old Dorean Garner said.

The Lubbock Police Department hosted the sixth annual "Santa Cops." It is a day full of presents, bonding, a even a little goofing around.

Lubbock Police Officer Ed Day is the chairman for Santa Cops. He said, "It makes it all worth while for us because we're giving these kids a Christmas that normally, they're not going to be able to have. They're not going to be able to get toys. They're not going to be able to get clothing."

"During Christmas, we actually had trouble getting money and all that. So it's really good," 11-year-old Brion Garrett said.

LPD paired up with Big Brothers Big Sisters to take the kids on an all day shopping spree at Walmart, Barnes and Noble, and Cardinals. The santa cops took the kids all over Lubbock. They bought clothes, toys, ate at Golden Corral and even bowling at Main Event! They finished off the day at Yates Flooring, where each kid received a brand new bike.

"Well I bought me some shoes, clothes and games," Garrett said.

"Clothes, shoes and toys," Garner said.

35 kids participated, and 38 cops acted as Santa Cops.

"As you can see, a lot of these kids don't even have appropriate winter wear right now. It's about 15-degrees outside, and some of them don't have jackets at all. So we're going to make sure to get them some coats and some good winter gear for this year," Day said.

The kids even got to take a special ride in the police cars!

"Basically every place we went, we went code three, which is lights and sirens. And they got to play with the lights. Our microphones that broadcast outside, they got to play with those. They had a blast," Sandoval said.

"It's kind of fun to mess with the buttons and to do something crazy with it," Garrett said.

Every cop is a volunteer. Some even came off the midnight shift, or have to be at work directly afterwards.

"We don't get official leave days, or anything like that. So they have to check their schedule and make sure they're clear. If we have the man power, then they're able to take that time off on their own time. They use their holiday or vacation days, and they come out here and do this," Day said.

"I'm exhausted," Sandoval said. "Working a midnight shift and coming over, you get no sleep. But as soon as I get home, I'll probably crash. Then go back to work tonight. But it's worth it, seeing the smiles on their faces. When he got the shoes in his hand, he was pretty excited."

The heroes that sometimes do not get the credit that they deserve, giving children a Christmas that they will never forget.
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