Traf­fic Stop Santa In An­der­son

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Me­gan Davis

Mo­torists in An­der­son drove away from traf­fic stops with a smile last week dur­ing the sec­ond an­nual Traf­fic Stop Santa event. Law en­force­ment took to the streets on Wed­nes­day with a trunk full of toys to is­sue gifts rather than tick­ets.

Of­fi­cers were in­structed to seek out ve­hi­cles with chil­dren in tow who may need a Christ­mas boost. Of­fi­cer Aaron Lemon with

An­der­son Po­lice Depart­ment ex­plained that LEO were in­structed to stop ve­hi­cles for mi­nor in­frac­tions, such as lane vi­o­la­tions or de­fec­tive equip­ment. Once stopped, of­fi­cers were to speak with driv­ers to dis­cover if the fam­ily needed Christ­mas as­sis­tance and what kind.

Par­ents and chil­dren alike were es­corted to the pa­trol ve­hi­cles where they were en­cour­aged to sort through more than a hun­dred do­na­tions to pick the per­fect presents.

Area busi­nesses and gen­er­ous in­di­vid­u­als con­tributed some­thing for those of ev­ery age and in­ter­est — sports equip­ment, art sup­plies, puz­zle games, re­mote con­trol cars and gift cards to lo­cal es­tab­lish­ments were up for grabs.

“Ev­ery sin­gle busi­ness I con­tacted for a do­na­tion con­tributed some­thing,” said Po­lice Chief Seth Daniels. “Ev­ery sin­gle one.”

Daniels be­gan the Traf­fic Stop Santa pro­gram last year af­ter par­tic­i­pat­ing in a sim­i­lar com­mu­nity out­reach in an­other town.

“I would say that it hu­man­izes our pro­fes­sion,” Daniels said. “We are peo­ple too, just like ev­ery­one else. Peo­ple some­times see us as ha­rass­ing Gestapo. Yes, we have a job to do, which in­cludes up­hold­ing the law, but we care very dearly for our com­mu­nity — their safety, their wel­fare and their hap­pi­ness.”

ME­GAN DAVIS/MC­DON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Seven-year old Stet­son Cur­tis of An­der­son grins ear to ear af­ter choos­ing a Cars toy stor­age gift for him­self and a gift for each of his broth­ers as well.

ME­GAN DAVIS/MC­DON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

Young chil­dren weren’t the only in­di­vid­u­als who were able to se­lect Christ­mas presents, par­ents re­ceived the op­por­tu­nity to se­cretly se­lect Christ­mas gifts for the chil­dren in their lives.

ME­GAN DAVIS/MC­DON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

An­der­son Po­lice Chief Seth Daniels helps two young chil­dren se­lect gifts dur­ing the depart­ment’s sec­ond an­nual Traf­fic Stop Santa event on Wed­nes­day, Dec. 20.

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