WPPD spreads Christmas cheer

Thaddeus Evans tells Santa and Mrs. Claus what he would like to have for Christmas at the West Point Police Department, Thursday. Children were invited to come and see Santa and choose a toy and a stuffed animal.
Staff Writer

The West Point Police Department reached out to the community Thursday with a little help from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The WPPD adopted two families from the Adopt-a-Family list and sponsored a toy drive to allow area children to come to the station and pick out a toy and a stuffed animal.

Captain Virginia Rich welcomed children and their parents and grandparents to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, McGruff the Crime Dog and a couple of Santa's elves, one of which was Wendi McMinn from the Starkville Daily News..

"In addition to the toy drive, we adopted two families and filled their wish lists," Rich said. "This was something we all enjoyed doing for the kids."

Rich said the members of the police department want to be familiar faces in the community. She said they want to accessible and approachable.

"This is all part of our vision for West Point," Rich said. "We want children to not be afraid of us, but to know the police are there to help them if they are in trouble."

Edward Brown volunteered to be the man behind McGruff the Crime Dog. He posed for photos and shook children's hands who came to see Santa.

"I've been in school in South Carolina," Brown said. "But I just came back home and became part of the West Point Police Department. I've been in law enforcement for three years, but I wanted to come back here and serve the community. This is really nice for the kids. I'm very happy to be part of what's going on in West Point."

Parents and grandparents took photos while the children sat in Santa's lap and told him what they wanted him to bring them for Christmas.

"We are so very grateful to the police department for doing this," Dorothy Buford, a grandmother who brought children to the police department, said. "It's a great thing for them to do. I brought my grandkids to talk to Santa and get a toy. To me every day I'm alive is Christmas."

Billy and Amy Duke (Santa and his wife) were having as much fun as the children.

"Sometimes they are a little shy," Billy Duke said. "But she has some suckers that usually coax them to come a little closer. I ask them what they would like to have for Christmas."

Amy Duke said they love seeing the children's faces light up when they see them. She said playing the most famous couple from the North Pole is always fun.

"I brought my nephews," Brittney Quinn said. "Thaddeus told Santa he wanted a hoverboard. I think bringing it to Santa's attention in person will make his chances better to have it under the tree on Christmas."