AP NEWS

Gering Police officers spread good cheer with gift cards instead of tickets

December 24, 2018

Gering Police officers played Santa over the last week, giving gift cards to people they encountered throughout the weekend.

One recipient, Amanda Gonzales, told the Star-Herald, her family had been having a stressful holiday season when their car was towed on Wednesday. They had spent $220 to get the car out of impound and were en route to the courthouse to get it registered and plated, when they were pulled over again. They were given a warning for not having registration, but also received another piece of paper — with a $100 gift card and a note from a “Secret Santa” and the Gering Police Department.

“Merry Christmas from your Secret Santa and the Gering Police Department!,” the note read. “We hope your holidays are safe and warm!”

Gering Police Chief George Holthus told the Star-Herald that the gift giving started Thursday after a philanthropic individual from the community approached the Gering agency and suggested the idea, donating an undisclosed amount of money to the department. Holthus said the department “jumped at the chance.”

In total, the Gering Police Department helped out 64 individuals through Christmas Eve, giving out gift cards to Fresh Foods. Holthus said that officers selected individuals they had stopped or had encountered.

“It was a real neat way to interact in a positive way with citizens and share some Christmas spirit,” Holthus said.

For recipients like Gonzales, the experience accomplished what it set out too promoting positive interaction between law enforcement and citizens of the community.

“It was the break we needed to get back on our feet,” Gonzales said. “I hope they all have a very Merry Christmas.”

AP RADIO
Update hourly