Christmas came a few days early for the children picked for this year’s Blue Santa program with Liberty Police Department. On Monday morning, Dec. 20, 13 children who were identified by Liberty ISD’s school resource officer as having a need this Christmas season were each given $100 to spend on any items they wanted at the Liberty Walmart Supercenter.
Some of the children wasted little time picking out their Christmas gifts while some took much longer to find just the right toy, game or clothing.
For the Liberty police officers who shopped alongside the children, it was an opportunity to build relationships between police and community residents. Simply put, events such as Blue Santa humanize the badge.
“It’s just a plus for everyone. It’s a plus for the kids to get to interact with police in ways they might not ever had or maybe they didn’t have the best interaction with us previously,” said Lt. Chip Fairchild. “We want them to see we are real people with a real understanding of them. It gives them a chance to feel like they have a friend in law enforcement. We also enjoy meeting the parents. Sometimes the holidays are hard for them. There are a lot of situations that might be working against them.”
The money raised for Blue Santa comes from donations that are collected throughout the year, Fairchild said, adding that Patrol Sgt. Chris Watson promotes the event and receives cash donations that are put into an account.
“It’s just a neat time. Watching the kids figure out the cost of things and having to add things up and make decisions about what they can and cannot buy is also a good experience,” he said. “Our officers look forward to this every year.”