ORLANDO, Fla. — Decked out in a badge, mask, and Santa hat, Orlando police officers were ready to serve as Santa’s helpers Saturday.
Just like Santa, officers set out with a list of local children in need of gifts this holiday season.
“A lot of these names came from community centers, churches, and the neighborhood patrol units themselves,” said Officer Hannah Crowe.
The Neighborhood Patrol Unit, launched in November, is a part of the department’s efforts to build relationships between the community and officers.
Officer Marcus Hyatt said programs like this help bridge the divide between law enforcement and the public.
“When the people in the community trust us, then they will be more likely to work with us,” Hyatt said.
Officers hope to hand out gifts to 254 kids this year.