Joliet police getting ready to play Santa’s Cops again
By BRIAN STANLEY Bstanley@stmedianetwork.com November 18, 2012 7:24PM
Santa's Cops 2012 logo provided to the Herald-News
Updated: December 20, 2012 6:07AM
JOLIET — It’s almost time for the annual event Mike Trafton’s been looking forward to since last Christmas.
He and friends will run down the aisles first thing in the morning and load their carts with toys and presents. Their smiles will last all day.
You’d think Trafton was one of the kids participating in Santa’s Cops, not the police chief.
“The department does a lot of charity efforts throughout the year, but this is my favorite event we do. It’s the most fun,” Trafton said.
On an upcoming Saturday, police officers will take about 100 underprivileged children through Wal-Mart to shop for presents for the kids and their families. The children are selected for the program through the Unity Community Development Center.
“These are the kids who most likely wouldn’t have anything for Christmas,” said Officer Frank Coleman, who is supervising the program for the second year.
The department feels the program allows the children to interact with the officers in a positive way instead of seeing them responding to a domestic dispute, for instance. And police get to see the generosity of others.
“Last year I got paired up with a little guy and the first place he wanted to go was the girls’ section. He said he wanted to get things for his 4-year-old sister,” Coleman said.
One of the ways police seek donations is selling pins that feature a different design every year by a department member. Telecommunicator Jamie VanBysum designed this year’s pin, which features Santa and a police emblem in a snow globe.
Pins are available at the front desk of the police station, and officers will be selling them Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 at the front of Wal-Mart, 1401 Route 59.
Besides the pins, other department items such as crayons, stuffed dogs, snowscrapers and T-shirts will also be available.
The Department Restaurant, 205 N. Chicago St., will hold a ladies shopping night on Nov. 28, and coupons can be used on Dec. 4 to donate 10 percent of your check to the program.
To order pins or donate to the program directly, write to Santa’s Cops, Joliet Police Department, 150 W. Washington St., Joliet , IL 60432 or call 815-724-3100.