Santa Cop Party Delivers Hundreds of Gifts to Arlington Children, Families
By Office of Communication
Posted on December 12, 2012, December 12, 2012

When the doors to an Arlington Convention Center ballroom opened this weekend, hundreds of children swarmed into the room. Some were urgently pulling parents along behind them and others scanned the hall in awe of seeing Santa, boxes of toys and police officers. More than 1,200 children received an early delivery of Christmas gifts Saturday thanks to the 26th annual Santa Cop program in 2012 hosted by the Arlington Police Department and Arlington Police Association.

"The reaction of the children is the best part of Santa Cop,' said Arlington Police Association president and Arlington Police Officer Randle Meadows. "Each year we volunteer our time and commit to helping these families, because we are public servants and truly enjoy the interaction with the kids.'

The same scene was repeated several times Saturday as groups of children, who were identified as being in need of assistance by school counselors and social workers, received large boxes filled with Christmas gifts. Each Santa Cop party was organized to cluster students from their own schools together to receive their gifts. Some parents kept the gifts in boxes so their children would still be surprised on Christmas morning, while others opened them up for their children to see the collection of games and toys.

In addition to Arlington Police Officers carrying boxes of gifts for the families, they were also able to enjoy holiday music played by deejay Arlington Police Officer Troy Medina. Several officers joined the kids as they performed some popular dances, like the "Cupid Shuffle.'

"I really think we have just as much fun as the kids,' said Arlington Police Officer VaNessa Harrison, who is a school resource officer, just after boogying with a group of kids on the dance floor.

Gifts were collected by officers over the past few weeks. Donations to purchase additional gifts were also collected by the Arlington police officers and volunteers. In the week leading up to this weekend's Santa Cop party, officers spent hours sorting the thousands of toys in a warehouse in preparation for delivery at the party.

When Arlington's Santa Cop program began 26 years ago, officers delivered gifts to a handful of homes on Christmas Eve. As the number of families being helped grew, the approach changed and Santa Cop parties were created. Last year, in recognition of the 25th anniversary of Santa Cop the Christmas Eve gift delivery was revived for a few families. This year that renewed tradition will continue.

"The combination of Santa Cop parties and giving away gifts on Christmas Eve gives us the best of both worlds,' said Arlington Police Officer Stacie Brown, who led much of the Santa Cop planning. "At the parties, we are reaching many more children than we ever could driving home to home for deliveries. But we all enjoy the way a little girl or boy lights up as we pull up to their house in a patrol vehicle dropping off Christmas gifts. This way we are able to do both.'


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