Muskogee Police Give Gifts, Warnings, But Not Tickets At Traffic Stops
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - Muskogee police officers made a number of traffic stops Monday, but didn't write tickets. Instead, some of the people they stopped for minor infractions got warnings - and something special.
I've done a lot of ride-alongs with police, but this one was unusual.
"Your tag is obstructed; I can't see it right now," said Officer Jeremie Garcia, Muskogee Police Department.
When Officer Garcia pulled Daniel and his two passengers over, they weren't sure what to think. then when he came back with a gift, they were really caught off guard.
"That's a $50 gift card," Officer Garcia said.
Officer Garcia says stunned silence is a common reaction when he plays Santa on the streets - silence or tears and sometimes a hug.
"I'm a little bit in shock," said Daniel, a driver pulled over by Muskogee police.
It might not be a conventional sleigh, but, Officer Lincoln Anderson is driving around in an SUV filled to the brim with toys for kids of all ages, perfect for a little girl named Angel the officers meet in a parking lot.
"Pick out a toy angel," urged Officer Garcia.
And, the officers give her parents some Visa gift cards too.
"Thank y'all, we weren't going to have a Christmas," Kathy said.
The family says money was too tight this year. In fact, all they had was a turkey, and this money will allow them to get the trimmings to go along with that turkey.
Officer Anderson: "I hope that helps you a little bit."
Kathy: "Thank you, Merry Christmas and Happy New year."
Officer Garcia: "Angel, be good, all right, take it easy."
Santa's helpers next headed to an apartment complex where kids were playing outside on this December day. When they first saw the police lights, they weren't sure what was going on, until they got a closer look.
"Toys, thank you," the kids said.
In addition to handing out toys and gift cards, the officers hope it helps all citizens see them in a different light: someone here to protect and serve.
Police say as great as this is to do, they couldn't do it without all the generous citizens and businesses who donate the money to buy the toys and gift cards and make these dreams come true.