The holiday season is a time of giving and your elected county sheriff is doing just that.
Every year, many of the sheriffs’ offices participate in a variety of holiday initiatives that give back to the community. This year we took a look at three of the most impactful holiday initiatives: Shop with a Cop, the Bait Package Program and Elf on the Shelf.
Shop with a Cop
For decades Sheriffs’ offices have partnered with local law enforcement agencies and businesses to support less-fortunate families during the holidays. This program helps children purchase items for themselves like winter coats, shoes or other necessities and gifts for their family members.
“I remember shopping with Jesús, he was ready to pick out a present for his mother and sister and had researched their gifts and set a budget ahead of time,” said Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson. “He pulled out a tiny piece of paper that revealed the toaster oven, on sale at Walmart, that his mom wanted. It’s amazing that these kids remind us what gifts truly are, I am always humbled during this event.”
This program also provides children with the opportunity to build positive relationships with law enforcement officers. Your sheriffs and their deputies shop alongside the kids and get to know them and their families, creating memories that last a lifetime.
“I think the experience is definitely very valuable for these kids who don’t get that opportunity to see us in this type of circumstance, and I think that’s what it’s all about,” Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers told the Newport Times. “When I was back with one of the kids, I knocked some stuff off and he just got a kick out of that – he kept taking me around with the cart to see if I’d do it again.”
Bait Package Program
To beat the holiday shopping rush, more people are buying gifts online. Unfortunately, some people have taken advantage of this trend, stealing packages off of porches.
The Washington County Sheriffs’ Office Bait Package Program targets neighborhoods that have experienced higher cases of package thefts and places bait packages with GPS trackers on volunteers’ porches.
“They’re going to use other people’s good fortune and try to make it their own. And we want to deter that, and we want to catch the people doing it,” Property Crimes Unit Detective for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Patrick Altiere told KPTV.
The program has experienced success, resulting in three arrests last year. This year, the Washington County Sheriffs’ Office is increasing the number of bait packages and making it more difficult for these “porch pirates” to ruin the holiday season.
Elf on the Shelf
A fun tradition is capturing the hearts of children during the holiday season: Elf on the Shelf. Every day, the Elf watches to see who has been naughty and nice and reports back to Santa. In the morning, children look to see where the elf is going to spend the day.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is participating in this timeless holiday tradition and their elf, Deputy Shultsy, has been active in the community. From participating in radio interviews to meeting with Firefighters to preparing his emergency go-bag, Deputy Shultsy is having a busy holiday season. You can follow the adventures of Deputy Shultsy on the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.