Over 25 years ago a small group of police officers in the Denver Metro area started a program providing holiday needs for families in their area and called themselves the “Santa Cops.”
Since then the program has thoroughly expanded and is now called the Christmas Crusade for Children program and now also involves the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office.
The program is run through KYGO 98.5 FM. Throughout the year, officers and deputies familiarize themselves with individual family situations and specific needs for the holidays. By learning holiday “wish lists” from each family the officers are able to provide the joy of Christmas for families who otherwise would not have one, said Elbert County Undersheriff Shayne Heap.
“The lists of families we help really come from the deputies themselves. They get to know these families after having worked with them all year so they know what they need,” he said. “Sometimes we get referrals, but the deputies really do most of it.”
All the toys and items are provided by KYGO and are then distributed to each law enforcement agency. Since the original Santa Cops program started years ago, the program has touched the lives of over 197,000 kids. This year in Elbert County alone, the sheriff’s office will sponsor 66 families and over 140 kids.
“Since we get families right before Christmas who need help we have extra toys just in case and this year Spring Valley Golf Course really stepped up by donated a bunch of toys just for that matter,” Heap said.
The Elbert County Sheriff’s deputies will deliver toys the week before Christmas and up until Dec. 25. Heap said when the deputies deliver the toys, they don’t make a big deal.
“They are just there to make Christmas a little better for these families,” he said. “We get a lot of positive feedback from parents who we have helped. We are really excited to help over 140 kids this year.”